DALLAS (AP) Scott Rueck has taken Oregon State's women's basketball program from shambles to the Sweet 16 in less than six years.
The coach who had to conduct open tryouts to fill his first roster with the Beavers now has a team full of seniors and juniors he recruited. They are having fun on and off the court, part of two Pac-12 regular season titles to end Stanford's run of 14 in a row, and already with a school-record 30 victories this season.
''The core of us have just been together, kind of grown up together,'' senior guard Jamie Weisner said.
Oregon State has been in the Sweet 16 only once before. That was in 1983, before the women's NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams.
''We're focused and I think we're having fun, and that's been translating to how we play,'' senior center Ruth Hamblin said. ''You see us having fun together and that's when we are playing our best.''
After opening with two wins on their home court as the No. 2 seed in the Dallas Region, the Beavers (30-4) play Saturday night against sixth-seeded DePaul (27-8) in the home arena of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks. They have won 20 of their last 21 games.
''The stage is bigger, no question,'' Rueck said. ''It's been a gradual progression and I think that kind of epitomizes our program, just the gradual progression from one thing to the next.''
DePaul is in its 14th consecutive NCAA Tournament under coach Doug Bruno, who is in his 30th season. This is the Blue Demons' fourth Sweet 16, getting here after a win at No. 3 seed Louisville.
''We weren't nervous going into the first two games and we knew what it took to win,'' senior Megan Podkowa said.
The Blue Demons, who have won the last three Big East regular season championships, average 81 points a game.
''DePaul loves to score. They love to get out in transition and they love to run,'' Rueck said. ''We want to be able to control tempo, so this game is going to be a contrast in that regard.''
A few things to know when DePaul and Oregon State meet for the first time:
SHARING THE BALL: DePaul is averaging an assist on 66 percent of its field goals, and is third nationally with 20.8 assists per game - behind Connecticut (21.5) and Baylor (21.1). ''The best teams year in and year out, at any level, are sharing teams,'' Bruno said. ''I just think it's something we create as a culture. It's something we do recruit, visual athleticism, the players that have the ability to pass.'' Junior guard Jessica January said Bruno has told his players they have the ''greenest green light'' in the country to shoot when they are open, but to pass the ball when they're not. ''That's what DePaul ball is, and that's what we try to do,'' she said.
DIFFERENT INSIDE: Hamblin knows she has to play things a bit differently since DePaul doesn't use a traditional center. On defense, she can't hang out in the paint as much and has to get out and contest shots. ''But offensively, hopefully you want to bury them down low and take advantage of the size mismatch,'' said Hamblin, who averages 11.9 points and 9.9 rebounds a game.
SELECT COMPANY: DePaul is one of six teams to appear in each of the last 14 women's NCAA Tournaments. The others are Connecticut, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Stanford and Tennessee. Missing from that group is Baylor, the No. 1 seed in the Dallas Region that the Blue Demons could potentially face for the second time this season if they win Saturday.
COMMON OPPONENTS: Oregon State and DePaul had three common opponents. Both beat St. Bonaventure and Marquette and lost to Notre Dame in December (Oregon State lost 62-61, and DePaul fell 95-90). DePaul beat St. Bonaventure in the second game of the regular season, and the Beavers beat the Bonnies last week to advance to the Sweet 16. The Blue Demons twice beat Marquette in Big East Conference play.