What does the loss of one of their star freshmen mean for the Beavs?
The Oregon State Beavers are still the No. 11 team in the country according to the Associated Press voters, but the injuries to their roster are slowly becoming a bigger concern than the rankings. After losing junior forward Taya Corosdale earlier in the season, they now have to deal with the loss of freshman forward Kennedy Brown. Brown tore her anterior cruciate ligament in the Beavers’ Feb. 7 game against Arizona State.
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The 6-foot-6 Brown was a McDonald’s All-American and a participant in the Jordan Brand Classic last year. ESPN’s No. 19 recruit was living up to those accolades in her first campaign in Corvallis. Prior to the injury, she formed a formidable “twin towers” with fellow freshman Taylor Jones.
The two freshmen had started every game together. Jones leads the Pac-12 with 1.9 blocks per game, and Brown was just behind her, tied for second with Washington’s Darcy Rees at 1.4 blocks per game. She was seventh in the league with 7.5 rebounds per game. Her 6.2 points per game placed her sixth on her team.
The Beavers were able to pull out the win against ASU despite the loss of Brown. Two days later, they suffered an overtime loss against Arizona without her in the line-up.
In her stead, OSU started senior forward Maddie Washington against Arizona. The Las Vegas native started 19 games last season, so moving into the starting five is not an unfamiliar situation for her.
Washington has appeared in all 24 of the Beavers’ games this season averaging 3.1 ppg on 49.3 percent shooting. Her average of 14.5 minutes per game turned into 28 minutes in her start against the Wildcats.
Washington is a more consistent shooter than Brown, but she does not offer the same threat when it comes to rebounding or blocking shots. What she does offer is a lot of experience. The Beavers will need to rely on that experience as they navigate a tough Pac-12 without two of their top forwards.
Oregon State will travel to face Southern California and No. 7 UCLA this weekend. They will follow that with games at No. 7 Stanford and California before coming home to close things out against Washington and Washington State. At fifth in the Pac-12 standings, the closing stretch is critical to getting a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament.
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