One of the Oregon State women's basketball team's four walk-ons is no stranger to new coach Scott Rueck's systems.
Redshirt sophomore guard Sage Indendi was the leading scorer on Rueck's 2009 undefeated NCAA Division III national championship team at George Fox University as a true freshman. She transferred to OSU after that season, however, and didn't play basketball last year.
She's resuming her career this winter and she joins senior guard Amanda Davey of Grants Pass, redshirt freshman guard Jenna Dixon of Portland and freshman guard Katie Schrock of Corvallis in Rueck's walk-on brigade.
"Sage was our shooting guard, then she'd bump over to point when our starter needed a break," Rueck said of the 5-foot-8 Indendi, who played at Park High in Livingston, Mont. "Sage was our playmaker and she turned into the best player on that team.
"When we needed a basket, she got one. Probably the most fun I've ever had coaching a player was Sage. We're running a similar system here, so some of this is review for Sage."
Indendi was a Northwest Conference all-star, a third-team West Region all-star, and the D3Hoops.com national Rookie of the Year in 2009. She led GFU in points (411), scoring (12.8), shots (325), three-pointers (49), assists (104) and steals (79), and was second in minutes (861), baskets (139), shooting percentage (.428), three-point percentage (.360), free throws made (84) and attempted (112).
She also led the Bruins in scoring 10 times, in steals 15 times, in assists 18 times, and scored in double figures in 23 of 32 games. She had 20 or more points four times and made a career-best six three-pointers in the NCAA semifinals.
However, Division III success doesn't guarantee Division I prowess.
"Playing at this speed is a whole different ballgame," Rueck said. "The jury is out a little bit on whether she can compete at this level athletically. When she was in Division III, she was fine."
Schrock was a first-team Mid-Willamette Conference all-star at Corvallis High last season. Dixon, who walked on after impressing at an open tryout in late August, was a second-team Metro League all-star at Jesuit in 2009 and a teammate of scholarship freshman Alyssa Martin. Davey attended Shasta College in Redding, Calif., and Oregon before transferring to OSU.
Rueck made preliminary contact with Schrock before being hired at OSU to gauge her interest in George Fox.
"I liked her size, athleticism and her shooting ability," he said.
He did not know about Dixon until the open tryout.
"Jesuit kids weren't necessarily looking at George Fox," he said.
With only six scholarship players, there's plenty of potential playing time available for the walk-ons. How much they merit will be up to them.
"We'll play the people who deserve it, who earn it," he said. "The way they're working now, I'd like to see they can contribute to some extent. It's a good opportunity for them."