CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State women’s basketball head coach Scott Rueck was awarded a two-year contract extension that will take him through the conclusion of 2017-18 season, Director of Athletics Bob De Carolis announced on Thursday.
In just two short years, Rueck has engineered an amazing turnaround of the women’s basketball program at Oregon State. After inheriting a roster with only two returners when he was hired in June of 2010, the Beavers have stunned pundits and observers since, winning 29 combined games and climbing to the top half of the Pac-12 standings. Oregon State was selected fifth in the 2012 Pac-12 Preseason Coaches’ Poll last Monday, the highest projection in program history.
“This extension is in recognition of a remarkable result after inheriting a very challenging situation,” De Carolis said. “We hope to keep Coach Rueck here for the long term.”
Following a nine-win season in 2010-11, OSU shattered expectations a year ago, claiming 20 victories for only the third time in the last 28 years and earning a trip to the Sweet 16 of the WNIT. No Beaver squad has had a better postseason run since the 1996 team advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
The 11-game improvement in the win column from Rueck's first year at the helm was the greatest single-year leap in that category since Oregon State's 1990-91 squad went 17-11 after winning just five games the previous season. That leadership also earned Rueck Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors as voted on by the conference media last March.
“I am humbled to receive this show of support from Bob De Carolis and the administration at Oregon State,” Rueck said. “Corvallis is a wonderful place to live and work, and Kerry and I are thrilled to be a part of the community and raise our family here. We are excited about the progress we have made and the direction we are headed as we continue to build a program the university and community will be proud of. This level of commitment allows us the stability necessary to pursue our ultimate goals.”
Predicted to finish 12th by the conference’s coaches prior to last season, OSU rode a 9-9 mark in Pac-12 action to secure fifth place at year’s end. In finishing 2011-12 seven spots above where they were picked at the beginning of the season, Oregon State made the largest jump between expected finish and actual result in Pac-12 history. No school had ever outperformed expectations by more than five places in the league’s final standings.
Oregon State’s six-game Pac-12 winning streak from Jan. 21 to Feb. 11 last season was the Beavers’ longest such string of victories in conference since their 1995 squad reeled off seven in a row en route to an NCAA Tournament berth. OSU has led the Pac-12 in blocked shots the past two seasons and finished in the top 30 nationally both years. The Beavers’ defense also held their opponents to a miniscule 35 percent shooting a season ago, the 18th best mark in the country.
As a team, OSU set a number of records last season, becoming one of the most statistically successful groups in school history. The 2011-12 Beavers set the mark for total rebounds (1,302) and blocked shots (183). Their 2,141 points are now second in school history and their 64.9 points per game average was the most in more than a decade (2001-02; 66.4).
Individually, Alyssa Martin’s Pac-12 All-Academic recognition capped off an impressive string of postseason accolades. Earlysia Marchbanks was the team’s first All-Pac-12 First Team selection since 2007, Patricia Bright earned a spot on the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team and Ali Gibson was tabbed Pac-12 Honorable Mention and was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team.
Marchbanks became the first player in Oregon State history to lead the team in points, rebounds and assists. Additionally, Bright set the school record with 115 blocks to finish sixth in the nation and in the process became the first league player in 22 years to reach triple digits. That total is the second-highest in Pac-12 history and came just one year after current professional El Sara Greer swatted a then-school record 92 in 2010-11.
After that first year of the Rueck era, Greer was named to the Pac-10 All-Defensive Team and Pac-10 Honorable Mention, Sage Indendi earned Pac-10 Honorable Mention accolades after breaking the Oregon State single-season three-point record and Alyssa Martin was selected to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team.
That string of success helped the Beavers welcome in one of the nation’s top recruiting classes this year, featuring five players from the Pacific Northwest that were collectively ranked as high as 17th in the country by ESPN HoopGurlz, including two consensus top 100 talents in Jamie Weisner (#41) and Samantha Siegner (#94). It also helped draw more spectators through the doors of Gill Coliseum to watch the Beavers in 2011-12 than had attended in any of the past 16 seasons.
OSU will be aiming for its first back-to-back 20-win seasons since the early 1980’s this winter. The Beavers kick things off in 2012-13 with an exhibition against Seattle Pacific on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 3:30 p.m. The regular season begins with a home tilt against Western Washington on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. Tickets for all home games can be purchased by visiting beavertickets.com, calling 1-800-GO-BEAVS or visiting the Oregon State Athletic Ticket Office located in Gill Coliseum, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.