For the first time ever, the Oregon State University Women’s Basketball team is heading to the Final Four, and to celebrate this moment in school history the university held a special ceremony as the team returned back to campus Tuesday.
Hundreds of students, staff members and fans, including some from Portland, filled Parker Plaza to cheer on the team as they rolled up to campus.
Fans gather at OSU to welcome home the women's basketball team. They're headed to the Final 4 for the 1st time ever! pic.twitter.com/NzRtvnt9Wo— Kaitlyn Bolduc (@KPTVKaitlyn) March 29, 2016
Even pups are excited to welcome this team home! pic.twitter.com/1Fa8M1p7s5— Kaitlyn Bolduc (@KPTVKaitlyn) March 29, 2016
The team was looking mighty proud as they walked onto the stage in front of a huge crowd carrying their regional championship trophy.
And rightfully so. This is the first time ever the Oregon State team has competed in the Final Four.
The win Monday night was a moment so big in OSU history that University President Ed Ray joked about the cardio workout he got while watching the Beavers beat Baylor in the regional championship game.
Students said it is incredible to see this team go far, and to be led by a coach who once walked the halls of the OSU campus himself.
Coach Scott Rueck said he couldn't be prouder of this group of women.
“For us to drive up and see this is unbelievable, it’s been quite the 24 hours,” he said. “These are the kinds of things you can’t ever predict, but you envision. I knew if I built a team that plays right, this place will go crazy.”
The Beavers players are excited and awed by the historic level they will be competing at this weekend.
“You always have the vision and the dream, but to actually finally be a part of it, is surreal,” guard Sydney Wiese told the crowd. “I’m thankful and so grateful to have the opportunity to compete at this level. We’ve earned it and I’m looking forward to making the most out of it.”
The players on the team said they had about an hour of sleep in the last 24 hours, so they will spend the next couple days getting some much needed rest and studying up on No. 1 seed Connecticut.
“It’s always been my dream to play UConn,” guard Jamie Weisner said. “You know to be the best, you gotta beat the best, and I’m looking forward to it.”
The two teams are set to play on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
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