Women's Basketball Set For 2000-01 Season

Oct. 13, 2000

CORVALLIS, Ore. -

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SET FOR 2000-01 CAMPAIGN, FIRST PRACTICE ON SATURDAY

Saturday October 14, 2000
Practice in Gill Coliseum - 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Open Scrimmage 10:40-11:45 a.m.

LOOKING BACK: Oregon State finished the 1999-00 season with a 14-16 overall record and 10-8 mark in the Pacific-10 Conference. The Beavers were in position to finish first in the conference with three games remaining but dropped all three contests and had to settle for a fifth place finish.

LOOKING FORWARD: The 2000-01 Beavers return six players from last season and have high expectations coming into practice. 'They really got a taste of it and were excited because they were so close to it (Pac-10 Title), that it's made them work and focus on what it takes to be a team. I really credit our returning players for setting aside a lot of personal differences and being big enough and adult enough to want to be a team and I think that was evident on our trip to France, they got along great and really enjoy each others company. I think our freshmen are going to fit in nicely.

NEW ADDITIONS: Head coach Judy Spoelstra spent the off-season adding depth to her coaching staff with the addition of Tony Newnan formerly of UC Santa Barbara and Stephanie Norman of Oregon. 'This spring I made a commitment to go out and hire a staff that had a lot of experience and that's what we got. It's going to pay off huge dividends on the basketball court. I think we're going to see it in terms of the players that we bring in for recruiting and we're going to see it in how the players are coached on the floor. It's going to be nice to have that much experience out there on the basketball court.'

GUARDS: The strength of the Beavers' lineup can be found at the guard position. Three guards return from last season's squad, including first team All-Pac-10 player Felicia Ragland. Depth and experience bolster the backcourt. 'We have a really strong guard group returning.'

POSTS: OSU will rely heavily on junior post Ericka Cook and sophomore Kristina Rukstelyte. A solid group of freshmen including, Brina Chaney, Awbrey Willett, Hollye Holbrook and Kristine Gleisberg will need to contribute valuable minutes. 'We like our returning post players but are thin at that position as far as returning players.'

SMALL FORWARDS: 'Two players that are going to have to swing both ways for us are Michelle Estell at a small forward spot and possibly Kristine Gleisberg at a small forward spot.'

A LOOK AT RAGLAND: Felicia Ragland returns to the Beavers for her junior year and will be a major factor in OSU's success. Ragland led OSU in scoring last season with 388 points and a 12.9 average. The Tulare, CA native also paced the Beavers with 86 assists and ripped down 6.2 rebounds per contest on her way to garnering first team All-Pac-10 honors. 'Fee had an outstanding summer going to the Jones Cup tryouts where she got to play against the best 44 players in the country. I think she will have an outstanding year. A lot of people will be keying on her, but I think they did last year as well. She is a phenomenal defender and just a great all-around basketball player and one of the best players in our conference.'

SPOELSTRA ON THE FRESHMEN: 'We wanted to sign big kids and we got four players between 6-2 and 6-5. Once they get in better shape and learn a little more about college athletics they're going to be pretty good. I suspect that two or three of them are going to play a lot for us this year.

INJURY REPORT: Sophomore Kristina Rukstelyte will miss early season practices while recovering from a torn ACL. The Kaunas, Lithuania native is expected to be cleared for competition by November. 'I think Kristina Rukstelyte was going to have an outstanding year this year and the only reason that it remains a question mark is because of her knee injury. As soon as she gets back it will be a big key for us in November. She'll come back and help us because she is a great scorer inside with good touch around the basket.'

SATURDAY'S PRACTICE: 'We want to try to do as much rehearsing from where we were in August during our training camp rather than a lot of teaching during the first day. We were fortunate that our four freshmen came for four days to training camp and watched and took notes. We want to come in and work on things that we know already and things that we can do well on Saturday and Sunday and then break some things down and go with a lot of the teaching stuff Monday through Friday.'

SPOELSTRA ERA: Judy Spoelstra (Oregon State, '83) enters her sixth season as the Beavers' head coach. Spoelstra is 61-77 (.442) in five season at OSU and she is 159-145 (.523) in 11 seasons as a collegiate head coach, her first six being at Montana State. Spoelstra was named the Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year following the 1999-00 season.

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