Oregon State kicked off their PAC-12 tournament run on the right foot with an opening minute three-pointer from junior guard Destiny Slocum and did not slow down from there, using a strong offensive performance to beat Washington State 82-55.
Throughout the opening quarter, it looked at times like the Beavers were scoring at will. While the Cougars went through long stretches without a made field goal, Oregon State used a dominant showing from beyond the arc as 5-7 on opening quarter three-point attempts to race out to a 29-12 lead after the first 10 minutes of play.
The near-perfect first quarter for the Beavers was capped by a last-second three from senior guard Mikalya Pivec, a running shot from nearly half court that pushed the Oregon State lead to 17 and set the tone for a second quarter that the Beavers continued to control.
The Beavers were boosted during the opening half by strong play from Slocum and Pivec, with senior guard Kat Tudor putting together a particularly strong 20 minutes of play to end the first two quarters leading the Beavers in scoring 5-5 from three in the first half with 17 points overall.
Though Washington State began to find their rhythm on offense compared to their slow first quarter, the Cougars struggled to match pace with an Oregon State team that looked ready to command the game from the opening tip.
“I loved our intensity,” said Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck. “Offensively we were in attack mode and this team really moved the ball well.”
The second half held more of the same for the Beavers as they continued to be led by their trio of guards, with Tudor reaching her season-high for points in the third quarter and ending the night with 24.
“It felt really good, I should be making shots,” Tudor said. “I should be making shots more. It felt good. It has been a long journey.”
While Washington State played some of their best basketball on both sides in the third quarter, it was not enough to mount a comeback. The deficit continued to grow heading into the fourth quarter, and Oregon State started the final period with their two leading scorers on the season, Slocum and Pivec, on the bench.
“It was a big momentum game for us,” Pivec said. “Last two years, we have had really short stays [in the PAC-12 tournament]... so we wanted to come out and give our best effort today.”
The fourth quarter held both team’s worst showings on the offensive side of the ball, with missed shots and turnovers plaguing both sides in the final 10 minutes. However, at that point, the game had been in hand, leaving Beaver fans to focus their attention on the next round.
For that semi-final game, Oregon State will get a third chance to beat the PAC-12’s third-seed Stanford Cardinal after losing their two regular season meetings 61-58 and 63-60, respectively. The game is scheduled for March 6 with tip-off at 8:30 p.m.