Nearly an hour before game time Wednesday morning, the buzz inside Gill Coliseum was audible.
That’s when the first wave of what would be the third-largest crowd to watch a women’s basketball game at Oregon State began to file in.
By the 11 a.m. tip, Gill was nearly full — and loud.
At times during the game, the decibal level felt almost deafening.
The crowd of 8,280 had plenty to cheer for throughout the contest as the No. 17 Beavers rolled to their fourth straight blowout win, this one an 84-36 victory over Savannah State.
“There’s no place like Gill when it’s packed,” said sophomore guard Kat Tudor, who finished with 11 points. “Go to any other place and it’s not like Gill. It was just awesome.”
Added fellow sophomore guard Mikayla Pivec, who led all scorers with 19 points: “I love playing in this atmosphere, a lot of energy coming out of the gate with all the kids there screaming, singing to the songs that are playing.”
While it was the third-largest crowd in program history, it was the biggest for the Beavers Beyond the Classroom game, which began in 2012.
Oregon State has now won its last four games by an average of nearly 43 points.
The unique atmosphere for the annual Beavers Beyond the Classroom event — where students from numerous local schools take a field trip to the game — while fun, caused the Beavers a few issues early.
Oregon State, which entered the day leading Division I in field-goal percentage at 54.9, rebounded from a slow start to finish 33 for 74 (44.6 percent).
The Beavers were just 7 for 21 from the field in the first quarter and only led 19-9.
“We got great looks,” coach Scott Rueck said. “We didn’t shoot the ball like we have been. It’s different having that many people, that amount of noise to get comfortable in that.”
Oregon State broke the game open, though, with a 26-5 edge in the second quarter to take a 45-14 lead into the break.
The Beavers hit four of their eight 3-pointers in the period.
In addition to Pivec (19) and Tudor (11), Marie Gulich (18 points and a team-high 10 rebounds), Joanna Grymek (16) and Taylor Kalmer (10) all finished in double figures. Katie McWilliams had 10 of the Beavers' 26 assists.
Gulich (6-foot-5) and Grymek (6-8) forged a nearly unstoppable force down low, combing to shoot 15 for 19 from the floor, as they towered over a Savannah State lineup that had only two players over 6 feet.
Grymek had 14 of her 16 in the second half, including 10 in the fourth quarter.
“We established ourselves inside a little bit better in the second half than we did the first half and Jo and Marie delivered in a big way,” Rueck said.
Oregon State twice limited the Tigers to two field goals in a quarter — the second and the fourth — and hit their goal of allowing an average of nine points in a period.
The Beavers also forced the Tigers into six shot-clock violations for the game.
“I thought they, in many ways, did a lot to control tempo. I thought they played hard, worked hard for shots and then I really liked our ability to challenge shots,” Rueck said. “I thought we played late into the shot clock very well and we finished possessions well, forced tough shots. I liked our defensive effort that way.”
Added Pivec: “Overall I was really happy with our defensive effort. I’ve never had that many shot-clock violations before.”