As conference play is underway in college basketball, one of the most underrated teams in the country also plays with the strongest competition. The Oregon State Beavers are coming off an injury riddled season, but they've proven at full strength they are a tough team for anyone to play against. Led by Head Coach Scott Rueck, the Beavs made a final four appearance in 2016, and will look to enter the dance for the first time since 2021.
The Beavs post game is one of their strong points due to the play of Reagan Beers (RAY-GUN Beers). The sophomore is the leading scorer for the Beavs this season averaging 19.5 points, to go along with 11.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Her post presence is frustrating for any defender, especially when they try to box her out for rebounds. Her 11.9 rebounds per game is tied for third-best in the country and it gives Oregon State many chances in transition. She was recognized for her play by the conference after recently winning Pac-12 Player Of The Week, which goes to the most outstanding player in the conference in a given week. Talia Von Oelhoffen (TALL-E-UH Von Ol-Hoffen) is the "do-it-all" point guard for the Beavs. She averages 10.9 points per game, which ranks second on the team, and leads in assists and steals averaging 5.5 and 1.0 respectfully. The junior shoots the ball extremely well for OSU with shooting splits of 42.3/34.3/85.7%. Von Oelhoffen missed the Pac-12 Tournament last season with a season-ending injury, so provided she stays healthy, she'll be a key piece in their quest for an NCAA Tournament run. Beers and Von Oelhoffen are the corner stones for this team, and they're starting to become one of the best duo's in the conference.
Outside of the dynamic duo, the Beavs win through "team basketball". On any given night a different player will emerge as the third scorer, which means OSU finds different ways to win. They currently rank third in the conference in three-point percentage at 35.6% which means they can shoot the lights out of any building. The Beavs also rank third in the conference in rebounding, grabbing 44.0 rebounds per game. That's a big credit to Beers, but having a player like Timea Gardiner also helps your cause. Gardiner is OSU's "third scorer" averaging 8.3 points, while grabbing 6.6 rebounds per game, the second-most behind Beers. The sophomore also has shooting splits of 42.2/36.6/ 81.8% this season. On the defensive side of the ball, the Beavs rank last in the conference in steals, averaging 4.8 per game, but they commit the second-least fouls per game at 13.8. As these stats shape up with conference play continuing, Oregon State should string up many more wins to help them when March rolls around.
The women's basketball team in Corvallis, Oregon is one of the remaining teams in the Pac-12 after the season, but they are still among the best and underrated in a stacked conference. They already have the eyes of the country on them after winning ESPN's "Team Of The Week" on Christmas Day. With multiple teams from the Pac in the top-15 rankings, the Beavs have a case to not only be a top 25 team, but make another Cinderella-type run in the NCAA tournament.