Since the end of the 2011-12 season, the women’s basketball Civil War was anything but competitive.
During one stretch, Oregon State won eight of nine games by at least double figures, and had victories of 33, 29 and 27 in one three-game stretch.
Entering this season, the Beavers had won 13 straight against Oregon, the longest streak by either side — Oregon has twice won 11 straight.
And while Oregon State won both games last year, the combined total of victory was just 10 points.
The then-No. 18 Beavers made the streak 14 straight with a thrilling 85-79 overtime win last Friday before the No. 7 Ducks responded with a 75-63 win at home on Sunday.
And by the looks of things, the battle for state supremacy is about to be must-see TV.
“It’s going to be great, it’s going to be tough,” said Oregon State sophomore guard Kat Tudor, who led the Beavers in scoring both games, including a sensational career-high 34-point performance on Friday.
“I think it’s just going to drag more and more people in to watch. Everybody’s intrigued by this, and we’re both young teams and we’re both going to get better from here. The competition is going to grow, too.”
Tudor and her AAU teammate and Oregon sophomore point guard, Sabrina Ionescu, battled it out on Friday with Ionescu hitting the game-tying 3 to send the game to overtime and finishing with a career-high 35 points. She had 15 in the win on Sunday.
Ionescu said the current players weren’t focused on the streak.
But she made a bold statement after the win.
“It’s kind of nice to shut their crowd up, shut their fans up,” she said. “Because we’re coming. We’re coming every game that we play them now. The rivalry’s huge, obviously. We had a great crowd out there (Sunday) and they did as well. It was fun at their place and it was even more fun here. That might be because we won.”
The fans definitely turned out and were very loud. The announced crowd at Gill Coliseum was 6,704 — it sure seemed larger than that — while the attendance at Matthew Knight Arena was 7,249.
The battle should continue as the Beavers started a senior, a junior, two sophomores and a freshman while the Ducks had a junior, three sophomores and a freshman in the starting lineup.
“It’s not going to stop,” Graves said. “I mean, we’re really good and we’re going to continue to be really good and Oregon State’s really good and they’re going to continue to be really good.
“They’ve got good players coming in next year, they’ve got an elite transfer sitting out (Destiny Slocum from Maryland). And we have great players coming in next year and we have an elite transfer sitting out (Erin Boley from Notre Dame). I anticipate this is going to be quite a rivalry.”
It’s not just that they have good players, but many know each other and some were recruited by both schools. Satou Sabally and Ionescu were both interested in Oregon State but signed with Oregon.
“We’re all connected,” Tudor said. “It’s cool but when you’re on the court it’s like you want to kill each other. But off the court we’re still friends.”
Rueck was asked about his thoughts on losing out on some of those players. He said it was part of the deal and wishes them nothing but success — most of the time, that is.
“Sabrina’s a great player,” he said. “It’s awesome to compete against her. That’s an awesome challenge. Satou’s a great kid and to watch her have success — I don’t want it against us — (but) I love the challenge of defending her and trying to find a way to beat them. That’s fun to me.”
Sunday’s game got a little heated at times, which just makes the rivalry even more fun.
“It was a little chippy but that’s what it’s supposed to be, it’s a Civil War game and we both wanted to win,” Ionescu said. “It was fun.”
That’s to be expected.
“We’re both gritty teams, too, and we’re going to fight to the last second,” Tudor said. “We’re both similar too, our style, and they have good players, we have good players. I mean it’s just great competition.”
It’s about time.