CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State guard Mikayla Pivec has become a rebounding machine.
On a team with five players 6-foot-4 or taller, the 5-foot-10 Pivec leads the Beavers in rebounding by a significant margin.
Pivec had 18 boards to go along with 10 points and seven assists as No. 7 Oregon State rolled to 95-45 victory over Southern Utah on Thursday. It was her second 18-rebound game of the season.
“When she came in, that was what stood out most to me was just how easy it was for her to slice through people and come up with the basketball,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. “It’s a drive, it’s a mindset, it’s a sacrificial way of playing the game and a desire.”
Last season, Pivec was an All-Pac-12 selection with averages of 15.2 points and 9.2 rebounds. She’s improved those numbers to 16.2 points and 12.2 rebounds through five games this season.
“What has changed in her game from last year to this year is her explosiveness,” Rueck said.
Pivec had plenty of help in Thursday’s game, which tipped off at 11 a.m.
With a near-capacity crowd of 9,301 on hand at Gill Coliseum for the annual Beavers Beyond the Classroom game — local elementary and middle-school students were admitted free — Oregon State (5-0) dominated from the outset.
The Beavers led 13-0 against the undersized Thunderbirds (3-2) of the Big Sky Conference.
Oregon State created matchup problems with Taylor Jones, a 6-4 forward-center, and fellow freshman Kennedy Brown, a 6-6 forward. Southern Utah’s tallest starter was 6 feet.
Jones had a game-high 18 points and was joined in double figures by Kat Tudor (14 points), Destiny Slocum (14), Aleah Goodman (12), Noelle Mannen (10) and Pivec.
“I think they’re a really great team,” said Southern Utah senior guard Harley Hansen, who led the Thunderbirds with 12 points. “It was a good opportunity for us. They were huge, but they were good.”
The Beavers shot 52.9% from the field and had a 56-27 advantage on the boards. Southern Utah connected on just 27.7% of its field-goal attempts.
The lead grew to as much as 28 points in the second quarter, and Oregon State led 47-22 at the break.
“How we came out was huge for us,” Goodman said. “We got stops that we needed and obviously we executed on the offensive end.”
Southern Utah: The Thunderbirds, who were coming off an overtime win over UNLV, stepped up in class against a top-10 team that has advanced to the Sweet 16 four consecutive years.
Oregon State: Tudor, who missed the last 21 games last season with a knee injury, has made eight 3-pointers in the last two games. She is third on the school’s career list with 186. ... Junior forward Taya Corosdale is expected to have season-ending surgery on her injured hamstring. ... Oregon State, which won the preseason WNIT, has defeated every opponent thus far by at least 11 points.
Southern Utah: Hosts Oral Roberts on Dec. 3.
Oregon State: At Miami on Nov. 29.