2019 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Media Day

2019 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Media Day: Trip to Italy helps Beavers grow closer

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SAN FRANCISCO — Scott Rueck's squad will crisscross the country during non-conference play this season as a clash at Miami and a trip to Hawaii for the Maui Jim Classic headline OSU's slate.

But going into this year's campaign, the Beavers already have their biggest trip of the season out of the way: Oregon State took a foreign tour over in late August to Italy, jumpstarting the team's preparation for 2019-20.

"We competed extremely well, came together as a family and had a phenomenal time," Rueck said Monday at 2019 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Media Day. "The beginning (of the season) feels a little bit like a continuation for us. ... Love the people that they are. There's a lot of talent throughout our roster."

That's strong praise coming from Rueck, who has been in Corvallis for 10 seasons. Under his guidance, the Beavers have made four straight Sweet 16 appearances and have racked up six straight seasons with at least 24 wins.

Rueck pointed out that last time his team took a foreign tour in 2016, OSU reached the Final Four: "We'd love a repeat of that."

OSU played in 10 games and even squared off against some professional players from Europe to test a roster that is deep with young talent, led by guards Mikayla Pivec and Destiny Slocum — OSU's representatives on Monday.

"It's an awesome opportunity in every way," Rueck said. "You get what I like to refer to as shared experiences. It's basically a 10-day retreat where you see things as a group that most people never get to see. ... It was a fantastic experience. Overall I think it does move you ahead."

Against the gritty landscape of the Pac-12, the Bevers already appear to have a leg up. Picked to finish third in the preseason coaches poll, OSU can extend its school record for consecutive years (six) reaching the NCAA Tournament.

Rueck also said the foreign trip benefited two highly touted OSU freshmen: Kennedy Brown and Taylor Jones. Brown was a McDonald's All-American, and Jones was the nation's No. 16 overall recruit coming out of high school.

"They picked everything up quickly, adapted and played through their mistakes, which I thought was really amazing to watch," said Rueck.

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