Oregon State’s Rueck Reflects on Elite Eight Loss and Officiating Concerns

Oregon State’s Rueck Reflects on Elite Eight Loss and Officiating Concerns

Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck avoided criticizing the officiating in his team’s 70-58 Elite Eight loss to South Carolina on Sunday, telling reporters that he did not want to make issues.

However, he questioned the NCAA Tournament referees’ haste to blow their whistles, alleging it “massively influenced this game.” Beavers star Raegen Beers committed three early fouls, which Rueck said caused her to play too conservatively on defense.

“Well, I would have liked [Raegen Beers to be able to play a little more free in this game,” Rueck was quoted as saying by reporters. “Three fouls in the first half? Nobody wants to see that. The way the game was going, I felt compelled to put her out there in the second quarter to finish strong and stay close.”

Moments later, he continued, “No one wants to see foul problems. You simply want to see them fight, and as long as it is rational, let it happen. Simply let them play. I don’t want fouls, but I do want what everyone else wants, which is common sense. I’m not sure if it left the building today, but that’s what I wanted to see.”

Despite the foul trouble, Beers had 16 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks. She is only a sophomore, so unless she transfers, she will return to Oregon State next season.

Multiple Beavers supporters have admitted that the Pac-12’s collapse could jeopardize the school’s ability to keep a star-studded roster. Next year, Oregon State will participate as an affiliate member of the West Coast Conference, where it will most likely face fewer ranked opponents.

When reporters questioned Beers and Talia von Oelhoffen in a postgame press conference, they declined to comment on probable exits.

“We’ve been controlling what we can all season,” von Oelhoffen stated. “There’s no reason to consider next year. I think people have said all year that this team is young and that there are no seniors, but we’re still in this year, and we’ve been so present, which is why we made it to the Elite 8.

“It wasn’t a case of seeing how far we could go and then going all the way next year. We were in this year. And so, with conference realignment and all of this other stuff going on, all of the diversions that we’ve been ignoring, I’m sure there will be conversations because the university’s future is uncertain.

Regardless, Rueck remains confident in his program’s long-term potential and proud of what he witnessed until the completion of the NCAA Tournament.

“They were supposed to beat us by 15 or 16, somebody told me that, and everybody knows it was a closer game than that it felt, and we had to overcome a lot of adversity today,” Rueck went on to say. “This team is a tough out. We were a strong opponent all year. We’ve been tested. We’ve been in a fight before, and we’re not afraid.

“I think it appeared fearless to me.” It did. I felt we looked fearless tonight, and I believe we gave ourselves a chance to win, as I had hoped. That’s all anyone can hope for. We arrived with three minutes to go. Give them credit for making key plays down the stretch.”

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