There were a few tough moments on Saturday when the Oregon State women’s basketball team learned what it feared the most — that it would be without junior guard Kat Tudor the rest of the season.
Head coach Scott Rueck confirmed after Sunday’s 78-67 Pac-12 women’s basketball win over Washington that Tudor will miss the remainder of the season with a left knee injury.
“We found out (Saturday) evening that it’s a season-ending injury,” Rueck said. “I don’t know exact details of everything that’s damaged but it’s enough damage to where she won’t be back this year, which is obviously devastating for her, devastating for us because we love playing with her.”
Tudor had hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cap a 15-4 Oregon State run to put the Beavers up 28-18 on Friday. She then corralled a rebound, but came down awkwardly on her left knee before falling to the court. She clutched the knee for a moment after she lost the ball out of bounds.
After starting all 32 games last season as the Beavers reached the Elite Eight, Tudor was averaging 12.3 points this season coming off the bench while playing 22.4 minutes a game. She also leads the Beavers with 40 3-pointers on 86 attempts (46.5 percent).
“To have someone go down and not be able to come back, it’s miserable, to be honest,” Rueck said. “We’re going to rally around her and love her and then it’s up to us, the rest of us, to figure it out and fill in the gaps.”
It is, obviously, a tough blow to her teammates.
“That’s our sister going out,” redshirt sophomore point guard Destiny Slocum said. “Like when she goes out it hits us deep. There’s only one thing we can do and that is rise for her. She doesn’t want us to take a day off, she doesn’t want us to sit there and mope for her. She wants a national championship just like we do so there’s no days off.”
Slocum said the Beavers will make sure Tudor stays involved as she works on her rehab.
“We’re going to be there for her and right next to her through the entire process but she’s with us through this process no matter of she’s on the floor or not,” Slocum said. “I think all we can do is rise up, continue to get better and she’s going to be right there cheering us on.”
The Beavers will also be without junior Janessa Thropay, who had surgery Friday for a broken finger on her left hand. Rueck did not give a timetable for her return.
“We’re expecting Janessa back but to have two of our juniors go down in one week it’s very frustrating and sad,” he said.
With Tudor and Thropay out and freshman Andrea Aquino redshirting, the Beavers are down to nine healthy bodies, making practice a little different; Rueck said he subbed himself in at times on Saturday.
“Even today trying to call plays knowing I’ve got people in positions they’re not normally in,” he said of some of the changes he, the staff and players must deal with. “There’s some adversity there we’ve got to work through. (But) this team is very adaptable to be able to manage today during those stretches.”
It’s the first season-ending injury for Rueck during his nine seasons with the Beavers. They have dealt with some substantial ones in the past when Sydney Wiese and Jamie Weisner both sustained hand injuries but returned during the season.
The Beavers' quest for a Pac-12 title and more have taken a hit and the road to those goals has gotten tougher but the Beavers aren’t going to stop working.
“Well Notre Dame won a national title with seven last year,” Rueck said. “I’ve had years with nine, years with 10 and 11. So it doesn’t do me any good to be concerned. It just does good to figure out this puzzle now because the puzzle changed.”