2018 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Media Day: Oregon State gets even taller despite losing Marie Gülich
SAN FRANCISCO – Scott Rueck’s teams have had some major presences in the post during his time at Oregon State, with Ruth Hamblin and Marie Gülich each earning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and All-America nods in their senior years in 2016 and 2018, respectively (Gülich was named Co-Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year by the media). Their patrolling of the paint helped make Oregon State a national power, with the Beavs’ stifling defense propelling the team to a Final Four and Elite Eight in two of the last three years.
While those players have gone on to the WNBA, Rueck’s Beavers aren’t getting any smaller. In fact, Oregon State may just have the biggest front line in the nation with three players listed at 6-foot-7 or taller in 6-foot-7 Patricia Morris, 6-foot-8 Joanna Grymek and 6-foot-9 Andrea Aquino. By comparison, there is only one other player in the rest of the Pac-12 combined who is 6-foot-7 (Cal’s Chen Yue).
Good luck matching up size-wise with the Beavs.
“It’s interesting – the shortest coach with the tallest team,” the 5-foot-4-and-a-half-inch Rueck quipped at 2018 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day. “I’ve learned that I like really tall posts.”
They have not yet gone through the full rigors of a Pac-12 season. Grymek is a senior and has yet to start a game in college, while Aquino and Morris are both freshmen. While they are inexperienced, it has at the very least made going to the hoop in practice a daunting proposition.
“I’d say it’s a little scary driving into the paint so far,” senior guard Katie McWilliams said.
Beyond that, it’s nice to have someone – or some three – who you know you can easily loft it up to on the block.
“I think it’s every point guard’s dream to look down the court and see 6’7, 6’9 and 6’8 and think ‘wow, this is what I get to throw to,’” redshirt sophomore guard Destiny Slocum said.
Rueck believes having players like McWilliams and Slocum will only help the young posts’ development.
“They’re amazing people, and they’re going to be amazing players,” Rueck said of the young post players. “We’ve got a group of perimeter players that it’s going to make their job easy. It’s going to be fun to watch them.”
Considering Rueck’s success with posts in the past, one would have to expect that Grymek, Aquino and Morris will turn into key contributors at some point for the Beavers.