Yeaney inspires teammates in win over Seattle

Bendu Yeaney recorded her first assist as a member of the Oregon State women’s basketball team Thursday night, though she never spoke.

The Arizona redshirt-senior transfer didn’t like what they saw from their defensive-end teammates in the first half against Seattle. The Beavers (2-0) went into halftime with a 38-33 lead over the Redhawks before edging away for an 89-53 win.

“Of course, Bendu told us in the dressing room that he can’t be out there as a defensive player,” said Talia von Oelhoffen. “I think … when I hear her talk about it and talk about defense, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, we have to go.’ She definitely played a part in that game, although she doesn’t play, which was huge and really cool for all of us to hear.”

Gallery: Oregon State vs Seattle U Women's Basketball 23

Oregon State’s Jelena Mitrovic had six blocks in the win over Seattle.

Andy Cripe, Mid Valley Media

Seattle shot 40% from the ground in the first half and took six 3-pointers, keeping the Redhawks in the game. In the second half, the Beavers held Seattle 19% on shooting and gave up two 3-pointers.

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Yeaney built a reputation as a defensive specialist during her two years in Arizona and made big plays for the Wildcats in the 2021 Final Four.

She is yet to make her Oregon State debut and sits alongside freshman Timea Gardiner in the first two games. Coach Scott Rueck has attributed those absences to minor injuries and was asked after the Seattle win if either player could return for next week’s home game against Eastern Washington.

“We are confident. We don’t know at this point, but we’re hopeful,” said Rueck.


Oregon State used its size advantage against the Redhawks, who don’t have a player over 6-foot-3 on the roster. Starting position Jelena Mitrovic had 14 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots against Seattle, who only had 14 points in the paint.

Freshman post Raegan Beers added a game-high 22 points with 11 rebounds.

Rueck gave the duo a lot of time together on the court. In those minutes, Beers often manned the high post, repeatedly making accurate entry passes to the 6-foot-9 Mitrovic for easy buckets. Mitrovic has good hands and exceptional length, and even teams bigger than the Redhawks will find this game difficult to defend.

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Oregon State freshman Raegan Beers scored 22 points and 11 rebounds in Thursday’s win over Seattle.

Andy Cripe, Mid Valley Media

“Jelena did a great job teaching me where she wants the ball, where to pass and how to post when someone’s on me, stuff like that,” Beers said. “And then I can give her a small dime and she’ll do the same for me, so for sure it was a great opportunity to build chemistry.”

Beers, who is listed at 6-foot-3, stood out for her effort Thursday night. She hit multiple times after sprinting down the floor, building a deep post position and taking advantage of smaller defenders who didn’t match up in transition defense.

New students gain experience

Rueck started four returning players – from Oelhoffen, Mitrovic, Noelle Mannen and AJ Marotte – along with transfer Shalexxus Aaron against Seattle. But the team’s five Reshman were all given at least 16 minutes of play.

There were tracks where Marotte, a sophomore, was floored with rookies Adlee Blacklock, Lily Hansford, Martha Pietsch and Beers. Rueck said it wasn’t his intention to have such a young group on the floor, it was simply a reflection of that lineup.

“It’s going to happen whether I try or not,” said Rueck. “With our group we have so many new people and calm, the rotation of how things are going to work now, we have no other option. That’s kind of the beauty of this group.

“You know I love coaching freshmen and first-year players. I make no secret of that. I think this is a fun challenge as a teacher. … This young group actually played quite a bit in the first half – and the second half – tonight and played very well and just got better.

Rueck said this lineup also gives Marotte an opportunity to be the veteran on the pitch.

“AJ in a leadership role, that’s also good for her to understand who she is right now in her second year on this team,” Rueck said.

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