“Be What They Need”; Scott Rueck Joins John Canzano From Pac-12 Tournament After Advancing To Semifinals


Oregon State outlasted Colorado in double-overtime 85-79 in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday and are moving on in Las Vegas.

The Beavers advance to the conference tournament semifinals on Friday where they will face top-seed Stanford, who dispatched Cal later Thursday, 71-55.

Friday’s semifinal will tip at 5:00 p.m. between Oregon State and Stanford on the Pac-12 Network.

John Canzano (Afternoons 3-6 p.m.) is broadcasting live from MGM Garden Arena this week and brought Rueck on-set after the thrilling comeback win, the first-ever double-overtime game in Pac-12 women’s tournament history, in what is the final edition of the tournament as we know it.

“It was fun,” Rueck told Canzano on 750 The Game after hearing the final call of OSU’s victory from the Pac-12 Network. “The end of our tournament, the last season of it, anyway, and to go out at least getting one win, that’s great.”

Canzano noticed Rueck’s calm demeanor on the sideline during the most tense moments of the contest. That posture was deliberate, said Rueck.

“Be what they need,” he told Canzano. “They didn’t need a cheerleader, not in that stretch of time. I had to get a little upset in the second quarter just to spark some kind of competitive fire. That’s how I felt anyway. In the second half I felt like we wanted it. We got down, of course. But they just needed tactical strategy and encouragement, but not a lot of demonstrative behavior from me. I just needed to stay out of the way and help.”

The Beavers were playing their first game of the tournament after getting a first-round bye as the 4-seed, while 5-seed Colorado rolled past 12-seed Oregon in Wednesday’s first round, 79-30.

“I had a feeling they’d probably start fast today and obviously they’re a very good team,” Rueck said of facing the Buffaloes. “Then you don’t know exactly what it will be like. It’s game one. I just knew my whole thing today  – I just need to help them. Just help them and be there for them, whatever they need.”

Rueck said he and the coaching staff had to get creative matching tactics with Colorado head coach R Payne in order to get the win, including taking All-American post Raegan Beers off the floor despite her finishing with a game-high 27 points and 13 rebounds.

“Just trying my best to keep my head clear and clean so I could think well and strategize,” Rueck said. “And we had to do some unique things. Pulling Rae(gan Beers), going small down the stretch, putting AJ (Marotte) in a spot, riding Dono(vyn Hunter) and Dom(inika Paurova), two freshmen in overtime, because Colorado did a great job doing their best to take Timea (Gardiner) away. So we had to do some different things.”

Rueck said his team’s ability to show on-court leadership in crucial moments is what allows them to truly play free.

“That’s what I mean when I say get out of the way and just help guide,” Rueck said. “They have all that in them. Especially at this time of the year. We’ve been through so many wars together. This is game thirty – or whatever it is. They know what to do. They know what needs to be said. And together we problem solve. But they are each other’s biggest fans.”

Stanford and Cal were in the middle of a tight battle during Rueck’s interview with Canzano. But the Beavers head coach admitted they were assuming the Cardinal would find a way to win, and that’s how they are preparing for Friday’s semifinal. Stanford did eventually pull away in the fourth quarter to beat Cal 71-55 and lock in a date with OSU.

“Get ready for tomorrow,” said Rueck. “Every step you take matters. Your mind, you just rest. We need to rest as best we can. We need ice baths. Double overtime was not ideal. Winning is – but not double overtime. And so we need our legs going forward. The fact that the tournament put a bye day between the semifinal and the final gives you a little more of hope I think if you get caught up in an overtime game for going the distance. But we know that tomorrow you’re facing  most likely the third or fourth ranked team in the country, for the third time, in Stanford.”

Stanford edged Oregon State in their last meeting on Feb. 29th in Corvallis 67-63, but Beers did not play as she was still recovering from injury. Beers will be available Friday, though, setting up a classic showdown with Stanford and their All-American and Portland-area native Cameron Brink.

John Canzano will be live from Vegas and MGM Grand Arena leading into Friday’s tip-off between the Beavers and Cardinal, with the winner advancing to Sunday’s Pac-12 Tournament championship game, which you can hear live on 750 The Game and streaming for free at 750TheGame.com from Westwood One.

John Canzano delivers the Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.