Oregon State will trade in its regular white home uniforms to don pink ones on Sunday when the No 16 Beavers host No 25 California in the Dam Cancer game.
Tipoff in the crucial Pac-12 women’s basketball game is 1 p.m.
The annual game is to put on to bring awareness to cancer.
“There are so many causes in the world that we can point our energies to and this is the one we’ve chosen for years,” coach Scott Rueck said. “My entire career, 22 years now I think, we’ve had a pink game. It raises awareness, it helps us raise money and I wish we could do more, to be honest, but that’s the No. 1 thing.
“Our community has embraced it. It’s always a huge game for us. Our players embrace it and it’s a way of just hopefully putting smiles on people’s faces and bringing people together and encouraging those that need it.”
The past several years, Oregon State players have had their hair cut following the game to donate it.
This year will be a special one for Rueck as his daughter Kate has decided to follow in the footsteps of those former players.
“Those two as role models galvanized so many people in this community that now more and more are coming to our game to take part in it with them,” Rueck said. “So it’s obviously been a big discussion around our house the past couple of years and I’m thankful that Ruth (Hamblin) and Syd (Wiese) provided that example for Kate and now Kate wants to take part in it. Very proud father that she has a heart like that and hopefully many others follow her example, as well.”
Then game always holds a special place for the players as well.
“I have some people in my life that have battled breast cancer so it’s a very special game for them,” junior guard Katie McWilliams said, noting she may consider having her hair cut next year. “My best friend’s mom had it and she was able to survive so just very special to acknowledge those people. Just a special game.”
Added senior Marie Gulich: “I’m super excited. I think it’s just a good game, a good supportive gesture. I know (redshirting teammate) Destiny (Slocum) will have a huge emotional connection to that because of her mother and I think it’s huge for our team to support those people and be able to speak up about it.”
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer knows how deadly Oregon State sharpshooter Kat Tudor is, so the Hall of Fame coach had a simple and concise message to anyone who was guarding on Friday.
“We just said hey, if you’re guarding her, if she makes a 3 you come out,” VanDerveer said after a 60-57 win over the Beavers.
The message was received loud and clear as the Cardinal didn’t all Tudor to even get off a 3-point attempt. In fact, Tudor, who was averaging 13.5 points per game, managed just two shots and went scoreless.
“They decided to take Kat out just like a year ago we didn’t let (Karlie) Samuelson shoot a 3,” Rueck said. “It’s just what good teams do to each other. If they want to pick that then other people have to step up and knock shots down and we just didn’t shoot the 3 like we needed to.”
In addition to stopping Tudor, the Cardinal allowed center Marie Gulich just seven points, the first time this season she has not scored in double figures.
A quick technical
It took Rueck just 3 minutes, 17 seconds to get whistled for a technical foul on Friday night.
He was extremely upset with a foul call on Gulich and continued to express his displeasure.
Was it to get his team fired up — the Beavers trailed 4-0 at the time?
"I'm trying to protect my post player from getting bad calls made against her," Rueck said. "I see it week after week."