Oregon State freshman guard Sasha Goforth attempted to drive to the basket but was cut off as she ran into Stanford’s Lacie Hull during last Saturday night’s women’s basketball game inside Gill Coliseum.
Goforth bounced off Hull and stepped back behind the 3-point line before calmly sinking the shot.
It was part of her 16-point performance against the then-No. 5 Cardinal. Goforth wasn’t the lone underclassmen to have a standout game against one of the best teams in the country.
Sophomore post Taylor Jones contributed 13 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out after the game was out of hand.
Throw in seven points each from freshmen Talia von Oelhoffen and Savannah Samuel and those four combined to score 43 of the Beavers’ 58 points against the Cardinal.
At one point that foursome had scored 38 of OSU’s 48 points and the Beavers trailed by just a point before the Cardinal dominated the final 15 minutes.
It could have been easy for any of those players to shy away from the challenge, but that was not the case. It was just the opposite.
“Personally I really like to play Stanford,” Jones said. “I like playing against them, I think that they have really, really good posts and I like the challenge. And I also think that the guards, they're very, very good. Every single time we play them we learn a lot from the game so I think this was a really good learning opportunity.”
It was certainly a good measuring stick for a young Oregon State team that has gone through some growing pains and all the distractions of this pandemic-dictated season has brought.
“Yeah, I mean, we are really young team but with that I think all of the people that are young want to learn and I think that's a really, really good thing," Jones said. "Everyone on the team wants to get better and wants to be the best as we possibly can and will do anything for the team. So that just shows our potential. (Coach) Scott (Rueck) always says that we don't really have a ceiling and I agree. And I think we're going to be amazing by the time that we're all out of here.”
Goforth, who has started all 12 games, is second on the team in scoring with 12.9 points per game. She averages 3.8 rebounds and has 26 assists, 12 blocks and 10 steals.
Jones is third in scoring at 12.1 and leads the Beavers with 8.1 rebounds per game. She also has 22 blocks and is shooting 57.4% from the field.
Von Oelhoffen, who joined the team midseason after graduating high school early, has yet to start but is averaging 10.2 points per game on just under 22 minutes of action a game in her five appearances.
Samuel has had mostly limited time but chips in 3.9 points and has six blocks in a little over 13 minutes a contest.
That’s a solid nucleus for the future, and it will only get better, particularly with the return of Kennedy Brown, the Beavers’ 6-foot-6 sophomore who is out for the season after tearing her ACL just over a year ago.
Her absence has been huge this season.
“I don't think anybody can understate Kennedy Brown's impact and her loss this year,” Rueck said. “Just such an amazing defender, such an amazingly skilled player on both ends of the floor and so, yes, it hurts us in depth, hurts us in our impact on both ends of the floor no question. We're so happy for her to be rehabbing as well as she is and we can't wait to have her back. We certainly are missing Kennedy every moment of the season.”
In addition to the return of Brown, the Beavers will be bringing in another highly touted freshmen in five-star guard Greta Kampschroeder.
There’s no doubt the Beavers have the pieces to stay at or near the top of the Pac-12 and to be a national power for years to come.
As Rueck put it, the “sky's the limit for this program.”
“I think about the youth that we have, the leadership that we have, the opportunities that they're getting, who we have coming, who we have coming back, the development of the youth and just how that naturally progresses, year after year,” Rueck said. “I mean, you're looking at a team that is going to be an elite, excellent team.
“This group is forming, similar to what people have watched over the years here, and I don't think you can limit the potential of this group. I mean it's a dynamic group that has everything — size, skill, ability, shoots the ball incredibly well from every position. So, yeah, the future's bright. We just want to play. We just want to play so we can grow even faster. So hopefully we can keep this up.”