CORVALLIS -- Welcome to the latest edition of Sydney Wiese's Oregon State women's basketball diary, where the All-Pac-12 point guard will take readers inside the Beavers program.
This week, Wiese looks back on quite the weekend, where OSU swept Stanford and California to win its third consecutive Pac-12 title and she was honored on Senior Day. Then she looks ahead to this week's Pac-12 Tournament in Seattle.
Feb. 28, 2017
What a weekend. It's like a storybook with a perfect ending. I mean, it's not over yet, but at least for the regular season, it couldn't have been any better. To have a sold-out crowd on Friday. To celebrate the seniors on Sunday morning early and to still have a really good crowd then. And then to be able to cut a net -- again -- it was a whirlwind of a conference season, but what a ride.
Leading up to (the Stanford game) was such a long week. The preparation that we had to go through was worth it, obviously. But it was stressful. I was talking to Marie (Gulich) a little bit about it after we won the game and we were walking to the Hilton together. We were both saying how, throughout the week, we were playing random scenarios in our head. What if we lose? What if we win? What happens with this and that? It was just a long week of envisioning "what ifs." And then, of course, it's an 8 p.m. tip, so (you have to wait) a little bit longer. It was good to try and self-discipline yourself, though, to not get too caught up in everything and to balance it. Game day comes around and you're excited. They let people come in early. We're warming up and Jeff (Macy), our strength coach, is like, "I think I'm gonna have the biggest crowd watching me warm you guys up here ever." And he did. I mean, they were filing in. During the national anthem, I don't usually look into the crowd. I'm engaged in the game and the anthem, but I could not help myself looking up into the rafters and seeing it was full and people were still filing in.
Then it was tipoff and it was a blur. I remember they missed a shot and there was a jump ball and the place roared. I remember at random times where people were yelling and screaming and it was deafening. Gill was shaking because of the noise. Every possession was important. Every second was important. And the build-up to actually game time, I know at least for us, it was like, "Finally we're here. We're playing." So I think everyone in the crowd felt that way, too. And then the final play where (Erica McCall) missed the three-point shot and we had finally won and the buzzer goes off, I was like, "Yes! I can't believe it right now!" To be able to say that it was the first time ever that we swept Stanford in a season, it felt right then and there like we had won the Pac-12 outright. And then you have to go back on Sunday and play another game. But that was pure joy celebrated in front of a sellout crowd. You couldn't help but get emotional afterwards.
Senior Day was overwhelming, too. We all individually walk out and they say stuff about us and what we've accomplished as individuals. I don't remember a word. I didn't hear any stories about Bre (Brown), Kolbie (Orum), Gabby (Hanson) or myself. But we were part of it. We know what happened. It was emotional again, hearing the crowd and how they react to all of us going out there and being able to take pictures. My grandparents walked out, which is amazing. My parents. My brother and his girlfriend. And then my good friend Kaylee, who's been with me since high school and ended up coming to school up here and she's like my sister. It was like, "We made it." It's not the end yet, but to be able to celebrate Senior Day, it's something that you sort of think of as a freshman but you don't really picture yourself in that position. And then, all of a sudden, it's here and you're like, "Oh my Gosh. I'm old and they're celebrating our class." It was awesome to be able to do that. Then usually after a celebration like that, there's a slow start, but we actually did the opposite. We came out strong against Cal. It was like a picture-perfect morning.
I didn't know if we were gonna have any confetti or balloons or whatever. And then, all of a sudden, I see the confetti and I'm like, "Alright, what do we do with confetti? You dive into it and you make confetti angels." That's what we did right away. I found my parents and gave them hugs, and then all of a sudden people were swarming after the net cutting. It was another fun, amazing day.
I don't think it's really sunk in yet that we actually won the Pac-12 again. This conference season was the fastest, but most emotionally draining. It took everything we had. There were so many unknowns every day (about) what we were gonna get from our group. That's one of our weaknesses is playing consistently, and we're trying to figure that out. Hopefully we have nine more games to get to our potential. But I think to be able to know that we were learning these lessons and growing as a group while getting wins most of the time, and that was enough to solidify ourselves at the top of this conference -- which is the best conference in the nation -- the sky's the limit for us. It's so exciting to still say that we have room for improvement and growth, yet we just won another championship. Give credit to our coaching staff and how hard they've worked to prepare us for these wars, to hide our weaknesses in order to accentuate our strengths so much more. Then when we're in positions where our backs are against the wall, we'll be ready to fight, we'll be ready to make plays to win. And we did most of the time. It was a program victory. All three years it's been that way. To be able to say that we did it three out my four years, I mean, remember when I lost three (high school) state championships? Well, who cares? I'm over that.
(The preseason poll) chose us fifth. Work's still not done yet. There's another opportunity to prove ourselves this weekend. But (we are) able to say that, at least for the regular season, we were the first-place team in this conference. We beat everyone. We proved ourselves against everyone at least once and we finished 16-2. My dad also was fuel to the fire. He thought that we'd finish 13-5 and I said, "OK, Father." So there's been a lot of people that have been doubting us, and I think it's been healthy motivation.
We absolutely want another shot at USC (in the Pac-12 Tournament). To know that they came on our home floor and punked us the way that they did, it would be good to have another rematch with them and prove that a lot of the mistakes that we made, that was our fault and that we've learned from them and that we've grown up since that point. No matter who we play, everyone is out to get that championship. Especially for those teams who are on the bubble, every win they can get here is huge. It's like we're starting over now. It doesn't really matter what happened in conference. It's every team for themselves at this point.
It's one last hurrah. I'm excited to see how we do as a group in these high-pressure situations. I think this weekend was a good first step in that regard. With Friday's game, if we lost, we weren't gonna be champions. And then same thing on Sunday -- if we were to lose that game, we would tie and share. We don't want to share. This is playing for keeps now. March is all about taking what you want from the other team. It demands toughness. It demands everything that you've got every second. It's gonna be a really good test for us to see how tough we are and what we're made of on and off the court. It's getting toward the end. Your body's getting tired. You're mentally exhausted. But how bad do you want championships? We have, at most, nine more games. Which is insane, but you make the most of each opportunity. When you're in practice, you're focused. You accept coaching. You accept, "What are my weaknesses and what do we have to get better at for this upcoming game?" and you're selfless. You can't predict wins and losses, but you just have to do everything right in order to put yourself in that position to hopefully win. Because if you don't, it's done. You say, at most, we have nine games left, but we're only guaranteed two. So when you look at it like that, there's definitely a higher sense of urgency because you want to make sure you that you get the most out of the time that you have left. We've had a good run so far, but I want to make sure that we finish this race the right way.
-- Sydney Wiese, as told to Gina Mizell
Sydney Wiese's 2016-17 Oregon State women's basketball diary
Oct. 24, 2016: "I'm thankful for one more year"
Nov. 16, 2016: "Incredibly surreal" to play in "last first game"
Nov. 28, 2016: "Growth is painful sometimes"
Dec. 7, 2016: "We are still searching for our team identity"
Dec. 29, 2016: "This is what we work for"
Jan. 3, 2017: "This conference is ridiculous"
Jan. 10, 2017: "It took everything we had"
Jan. 18, 2017: "Now we can't relax"
Jan. 25, 2017: "A little more pride involved"
Feb. 1, 2017: "An out-of-body experience"
Feb. 8, 2017: "Honestly, it was perfect"
Feb. 15, 2017: "I had way too many turnovers"
Feb. 21, 2017: "It's sort of like a storybook ending"
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