Beavers in the WNBA
CORVALLIS - In recent years the Oregon State Women's Basketball program has had found great success in producing top-level talent, as six former Beavers have been selected in the last six WNBA drafts. No Pac-12 team is responsible for more selections.
Oregon State is tied with UCLA for most in the conference over that stretch, a period in which 29 players have been drafted from the Pac-12. Only four teams in the nation have had more players selected over that span.
When asked why Oregon State has found great success in developing WNBA-caliber players, former Beaver Sydney Wiese says it comes down to the way head coach Scott Rueck is able to develop his players' basketball IQ.
"At this level everyone is really good and everyone has their strengths and skillsets that are unique to them, but I think what has been able to help us stand out as alumni from Oregon State is our understanding of who we are as basketball players," Wiese said. "We know how to adjust and to blend into [any] system because we get the game of basketball."
Jamie (Weisner) Scott and Ruth Hamblin were second round picks in 2016, Wiese was a first rounder in 2017 and Marie Gulich was selected in the first round of the 2018 draft. Mikayla Pivec was third round pick in 2020, and Aleah Goodman was recently picked in the third round of the 2021 WNBA draft.
"Scott is such a great coach… There's great development out there, so we have great respect for the Oregon State program," Connecticut Sun Head Coach Curt Miller added. "[Goodman] just epitomizes what Oregon State players are like: smart basketball IQ, efficient, humble, and they become great leaders."
"I owe a lot to Oregon State, the community, the program, my teammates, my coaches. Throughout these four years they've been amazing," Goodman said. "When you get to Oregon State our coaches buy into you. Not only as a basketball player but as a person and they've taught me so much."
— Connecticut Sun (@ConnecticutSun) April 28, 2021
There are currently three Beavers in WNBA training camps. Goodman, just drafted, is in her first with the Connecticut Sun. Pivec is in her first camp with the Minnesota Lynx, and Wiese is starting her fifth season playing for the Los Angeles Sparks.
Though each team is different, Wiese says a normal day of camp with the Sparks starts with a COVID test around 7:45 a.m. Once cleared, she spends between 45 and 60 minutes doing a virtual workout with her trainer. The team practices from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., at which point players can do any sort of extra work or recovery before heading home for the day. In total, it's around four or five hours from start to finish.
With this year being Wiese's fifth training camp with the Sparks, she offered a piece of advice for WNBA newcomers Pivec and Goodman: be yourself.
"There's a reason why they were asked to those specific training camps," Wiese said. "When you can shoot the way that Aleah can shoot, when you can do all the little intangible things that Mik can do, you can find a roster spot by bringing that to the table. I think they should be confident in being exactly who they are."
Oregon State Athletics strives to Build Excellent Authentic Visionary Student-Athletes (Go BEAVS)