Pac-12 Feature: Weisner driven by last season’s disappointment
Jamie Weisner has a mental picture in her head. It is Weisner and former Beavers guard Ali Gibson sharing an emotional moment at the end of Oregon State’s second-round loss in the NCAA Tournament last spring.
It is a bittersweet memory. A source of motivation. Of inspiration.
And a feeling she would rather not experience again.
“It motivates me every single day,” Weisner said. “I want a different ending this year. Last year we felt like we had more to offer and we were done and that was really hard.”
Weisner, the Beavers senior guard from Clarkston, Washington, went to head coach Scott Rueck in the days after that second-round NCAA loss to Gonzaga. She wanted to know what to do differently.
Rueck, who knows well that Weisner is a driving force on his team, talked with her about vocal leadership. She also got to work improving herself as a defender.
“Every year is a progression. I work on improving part of my game,” Weisner said. “Last summer, it was a lot of defensive work. I’ve always had a scorer’s mentality, but really, it’s about whatever the team needs.”
Weisner’s offseason work is evident in the results, setting the tone on a 16-3 team ranked in the national top 10.
The Beavers have reeled off seven straight wins and have point guard Sydney Wiese back on the floor after missing eight games with a broken hand.
Oregon State is one game behind Arizona State in the Pac-12 standings, looking to repeat the success of last year’s first-ever regular-season title and the disappointment of a postseason that saw the Beavers make an early exit from the Pac-12 Tournament and the NCAA Tournament as a No. 2 seed.
Weisner is leading the way for a veteran team.
“If you watched our practices, you would hear her voice more than anyone,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. “She always leads by example and her constant improvement and incredible toughness sets the tone for our team on a daily basis.”
Heading into the weekend games against Arizona and the showdown against Arizona State on Monday, Weisner leads Oregon State in scoring at 16.8 points a game. Her shooting percentage of 49.1 percent is highest among guards in the conference.
She has scored at least 20 points in five games this season and has 12 straight double-figure scoring games.
Wiese’s injury added to Weisner’s load.
“There is no question that we had to have huge production from her and she had pressure to perform, but for us to continue to be successful, we had to have increased production from the rest of our team,” Rueck said.
Rueck said that nothing about Weisner’s performance comes as a surprise.
“When someone brings the same consistent effort day after day, and week after week for years, it’s hard to be surprised by them,” Rueck said. “I’m always amazed by her unrelenting effort and her will to be an elite player.”
Michelle Smith is a contributing writer for pac-12.com. She has covered pro and college sports for espnW, the San Francisco Chronicle and AOL Fanhouse.
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