LAHAINA, Hawaii -- Oregon State faced a gut check early and ended up delivering the finishing blows against BYU.
Destiny Slocum scored 18 points and the fourth-ranked Beavers (11-0) shook off a slow start and beat the Cougars (5-5) 65-34 on Thursday, the final day of the Maui Jim Maui Classic.
The Beavers (11-0) trailed 11-4 after the first quarter, but outscored the Cougars (5-5) 24-6 in the second period. Oregon State closed out the half on a 17-2 run.
“I think it was absolutely a gut check for us,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. “You know, shots aren’t falling, you’re not feeling great and then all of a sudden things started to fall, we got that great energy back, the fans got into it. And then I feel like we overwhelmed them a little bit with speed and that’s what we needed to do and so this team has evolved from the past.”
Mikayla Pivec’s layup with 2:20 left in the first half broke a 17-all tie and gave the Beavers the lead for good.
Pivec had her first shot attempt of the game blocked by BYU’s 6-foot-7 center Sara Hamson.
“Hamson’s a good shot blocker. I took it in a little too carelessly and she got my shot—- I should have passed it at that point — but after the first quarter we started seeing the defense a little better and started passing around their big presence inside, and I think that opened up things for us more,” Pivec said. Also scoring in double figures for Oregon State were Kat Tudor, who came off the bench to hit 5 of 7 shots from beyond the arc and finished with 15 points, and Pivec, who added 13 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Oregon State shot 1 of 12 from the field in the opening quarter.
Brenna Drollinger led BYU with 14 points. Oregon State led 28-17 at the break and pushed its lead to as many as 32 points in the fourth quarter. BIG PICTURE BYU dropped to 0-4 on the season against opponents from the Pac-12 conference. It also came up short against Washington State (67-50), Utah (77-73 in overtime) and Arizona State (60-62). Oregon State is off to its best start in program history. The Beavers are one of 11 remaining undefeated teams in the country and five in the Pac-12 (No. 1 Stanford, No. 10 UCLA, No. 18 Arizona, Colorado). “I’m proud of this team,” Rueck said. “We’ve got one more (non-conference game) and then obviously we’re playing in the best conference in the country starting January third, so I’m happy with our preparation.” COLD COUGARS BYU shot just 13 of 62 (21%) from the field, including 3 of 17 on 3-pointers, well below their season average of 40.1%.
“I thought we came out the first quarter, defended our butts off and I think we did a really good job, (but) to sustain that for four quarters when you can’t score is tough and that’s what happened tonight,” Cougars coach Jeff Judkins said. “They’re a very good defensive team and offensively they’re good, they run their stuff, they got size and guards that can handle it, but I thought we did a great job really the first 15 minutes defending them, we just couldn’t score, and part of it, we’re not used to that physicality and we couldn’t get the ball inside when we wanted to.” UP NEXT BYU: Opens West Coast Conference play at Loyola Marymount on Dec. 28 and faces Pepperdine two days later. The Cougars were picked to finish second behind Gonzaga in the WCC preseason poll. Oregon State: Hosts CSU Bakersfield on Dec. 29 to close out non-conference play. The Beavers, who were tabbed for a third-place finish in both the Pac-12 preseason coaches and media polls, begin their conference schedule against Utah on Jan. 3.
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