Imagine looking across the basketball court and seeing a lineup that consists or three players ranging in height, from 6-4 to 6-9.
That’s a possibility for any team that faces Oregon State this season.
The No. 14 Beavers, who open the season Friday night at home against Loyola Marymount, could put a lineup that consists of Taylor Jones (6-4), Kennedy Brown (6-6) and Jelena Mitrovic (6-9) on the court at the same time.
Talk about an imposing sight.
“I think we could. We haven’t tried it in practice yet,” Jones said a couple weeks ago. “But we’ve done where me and Jelena have been on the court, me and Kennedy have been on the court and Kennedy and Jelena have been on the court.”
“But Kennedy could move up to the three, I mean I think she could guard the three. I think that they would put Jelena at the four for her shooting range. And then me at the five. I think that would be a fun lineup. I’ll have to talk to (coach) Scott (Rueck) about that one.”
Oregon State’s height isn’t limited to those three players, either. Jovana Subasic, a transfer from Washington State who didn’t see the court much last season, is 6-4, while returners Taya Corosdale and Ellie Mack are both listed at 6-3.
Andrea Aquino is 6-9, but has yet to take the court in three years with the program as she has not been cleared to play. No specific reason has been given as to why.
“It’s nice to be deep and it’s nice to be deep, especially in the post,” Rueck said. “So it’s a blessing. It’s also a problem in some ways for a coach trying to divvy up minutes and figure it all out. But that’s the problem every one of us wants, I can tell you that much. We do have a lot of talent and a lot of experience.”
Jones, listed at a sophomore since every player gets an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA due to the pandemic season, has started all 52 games of her career with the Beavers, and averages 12.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. She has made 57.3 percent of her shots the past two years.
Brown is back after sitting out all of last season while recovering from a torn ACL. She started the first 23 games of her career as a freshman in 2019-20 before being injured and averaged 6.3 points and 7.6 rebounds a game.
“Having her back is going to be helpful for the team, but just seeing her happy and being back, I mean, it’s what she does,” Jones said. “She’s a great player and she’s worked her butt off to get to where she is. She’s going to come back better, stronger, and an even better player than what she was. Her mindset right now is just amazing. And I’m just really, really excited to be able to share the court with her again.”
Mitrovic is in her third year at Oregon State, but missed her first season as she was rehabbing from a previous injury. She played sparingly last season, averaging just 12.6 minutes a game but began to find her rhythm down the stretch. Mitrovic finished the season averaging 4.1 points and 4.5 rebounds a game.
“Now she’s been healthy for more than a year and she’s really done everything that it takes to get the most out of herself,” Rueck said. “So she’s a different player now. Now she’s able to do more on the court longer.”
Corosdale has 78 starts in her 90 games in a Beavers’ uniform and is almost two years removed from a leg injury that cost her all but two games of the 2019-20 season.
She may only be averaging 6.5 points per game for her career but she can stretch the floor with her ability to knock down the 3-point shot (99 of 288, 34.4 percent).
Mack, a grad transfer from Bucknell last season, averaged just 6.8 points per game for the Beavers but started all 20 games. She averaged 15 points a game her final season at Bucknell.
Subasic played in just 10 games and averaged just over seven minutes last year at at Oregon State. She started eight of 31 games at WSU in 2019-20 and scored 8.4 points per game and grabbed four boards a contest.
“(Subasic) was injured most of last year and played just such a small role,” Rueck said. “While she was with us the whole time she wasn’t like she can be. And then you’ve got Ellie and Taya … I mean, it’s a heck of a group, a lot of talent. And so it feels great. It makes us versatile and my hope is it’s a problem for everyone.”
That group should help out a lot of new pieces to the guard position. The Beavers lost starters Aleah Goodman (16.2 ppg.) and Sasha Goforth (11.6 ppg.) off last year’s team. Goodman left for the WNBA draft and Goforth, a freshman, decided to transfer back home to Arkansas.
Back is Talia von Oelhoffen, who joined the program in January after graduating high school early. She certainly enjoys having the talent up front.
“They’re going to be so good,” von Oelhoffen said. “Obviously that is like a point guard’s dream to play with posts like that. And just the depth, I mean, having four true centers that could start at any D1 team in the nation. So to have so many of them, it’s amazing to play with and I’m super excited for it. It’s going to take a lot of pressure off of us as guards for sure. So we just have a lot of versatility on this team and I’m super excited to have that depth down there.”
Von Oelhoffen (5-11), grad transfer Téa Adams (5-9) and Noelle Mannen (5-4), a former walk-on who received a scholarship this summer, are the only players 0n the roster under 6 feet.
Emily Codding (6-0) is a grad transfer in her first season while Greta Kampschroeder (6-0), a McDonald’s All-America, and AJ Marotte (6-1) round out the roster.
As one of the “vets” despite playing just 13 games last season – where she averaged 11.3 points per game and hit 23 of 53 3-pointers (43.4 percent) – von Oelhoffen is a leader of the guard group.
“I definitely kind of have a leadership role in that way but they’re picking up on everything really fast,” von Oelhoffen said. “Téa and Emily, you can tell that they’ve played college basketball for as long as they have. They were so quick to pick everything up. And then Greta and AJ as well, and obviously having Noelle who’s in her third year, we all just help each other out and lean on each other and push each other. So I’m really excited for our backcourt this year.”
Jones hopes all that height will lead to a defense that wreaks havoc in the paint.
“Even our smaller guards are still pretty strong and still pretty stout,” she said. “So I think it’s going to be hard to get past us on the defensive end and hard to score on us. Hopefully, we won’t give up a lot of layups this year because we’ll have a bunch of rim protection. And I think our defense is going to be very, very key this year.”
Corosdale is just excited to see how all the pieces fit together through the course of the season.
“I’m looking forward to everybody bringing what they can to this team this year,” she said. “Fitting into the role of whatever that is. We have a lot of strengths and we’re working on our weaknesses. I’m just already so proud of this team, but I’m just really excited to see what we’re all going to bring because we do have a really strong frontcourt and backcourt this year.”