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OSU women's basketball: Beavers' class of 2022 ranked third in the country

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The Oregon State women’s basketball program officially welcomed its highest-rated class of recruits on Wednesday.

Timea Gardiner, Raegan Beers, Adlee Blacklock and Lily Hansford signed their National Letters of Intent on the opening day of the signing period. ESPN rates Oregon State’s 2022 recruiting class as No. 3 in the country, trailing only Pac-12 rivals Oregon and UCLA.

Coach Scott Rueck believes that if anything, this class might be underrated at the individual level.

“Lily, I don’t think was top 100, and I think once you see her skill set and her length and understand who she is as a competitor, I think everybody will recognize that’s probably a top-100 kid,” Rueck said. “Not many people are doing what she can do on a basketball floor at 6-2 on the perimeter.”

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The class is highlighted by Gardiner, a 6-foot-3 forward from Ogden, Utah. Gardiner, a five-star recruit who is No. 6 in the ESPN top 100, averaged 13.5 points and 7.1 rebounds last season at Fremont High School. She is also a part of the USA Basketball program and played on the U-16 squad which won a gold medal at the 2019 FIBA Americas tournament.

“I chose Oregon State because I really wanted a place that felt like family and a home away from home,” Gardiner said in an OSU release. “Coach Rueck has built a great culture and program, and I wanted to be a part of that, as well as being surrounded by people that will push me to become a better student, athlete and person.”

Beers, a 6-foot-2 post from Littleton, Colorado, is also a five-star recruit and is ranked as the No. 3 post player in this class. She averaged 15.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game in her sophomore season.

Rueck said Gardiner and Beers are both well-rounded players and he is most excited about their passing ability.

“Both post players are elite passers … they pass like a point guard, completely unselfish,” Rueck said.

Blacklock is a 6-foot guard from Lubbock, Texas. She missed her junior year due to injury, but as a sophomore averaged 21.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest. She led Trinity Prep to state championships in her freshman and sophomore seasons.

Hansford is a 6-foot-2 guard from DePere, Wisconsin. As a junior, she averaged 13.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game and shot 43% from beyond the arc.

“Two guards that can stroke the three, both of which have played some point guard in their backgrounds, that have that point guard skill which I love in all of our guards. I’d like to have five point guards basically on the floor all game long if I could, at least in mindset and skill set,” Rueck said.

Rueck said Gardiner, Beers and Hansford made an official visit together to the campus in September. All three had already committed to Oregon State so the focus was more on building relationships.

“They had a blast together, you could just tell, it was so easy just to have them here, they were already a part of things,” Rueck said.

Hansford said the relationship with the coaching staff was her primary reason for choosing Oregon State.

“I really believe in everything that they stand for and represent. Coach Rueck has developed such an amazing and family-oriented culture that made it hard to not want to be a part of it. Oregon State has had a lot of success over the years and to be able to add and be a part of that success is a huge honor,” Hansford said in the release.

The Pac-12 Conference dominated the signing day rankings. In addition to Oregon, UCLA and Oregon State taking the top three spots in the ESPN rankings, Stanford is No. 5, Arizona is No. 6 and Washington is No. 10.

Rueck said the conference may already be the deepest it has ever been and teams continue to add more talent.

“It’s not slowing down. It’s just getting better and better. It’s a joy to be a part of. It’s a challenge but that’s what we signed up for,” Rueck said.

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