It doesn’t appear there is much Oregon State’s Mikayla Pivec can’t do on the basketball court.

Pivec burst on the scene as a freshman last season and averaged 7.5 points and 5.0 rebounds while starting 27 games for the Beavers and making the Pac-12's all-freshman team.

While Pivec has taken on an extended role and is learning a new position this season, the numbers have only gotten better.

So has her impact on the 19th-ranked Beavers.

Pivec has started the first five games of the season at the point guard spot — taking over for four-year starter Sydney Wiese.

The 5-foot-9 sophomore is second on the team in scoring (14.5 points per game) and leads the Beavers (3-2) in rebounds (8.4 per game) and assists (29 total).

Pivec drew high praise from Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw after the Beavers dropped a tough 72-67 decision to the Irish on Nov. 19.

“She makes them go. She is so aggressive,” McGraw said after Pivec had 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists against then-No. 6 Notre Dame.

“We talked and talked and talked about keeping her off the glass and just couldn’t do it. She will just not be denied. She is one of those players that just wills the team to victory. She is just a really great leader and kind of the heart and soul of the team. I really have a lot of respect for her.”

Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said Pivec provides strength and is an ultimate competitor with the ball in her hands. He said that has been a “calming influence” for a young and inexperienced team.

“It’s great to hear her be more vocal this year … it’s what we need,” Rueck said last week. “She’s fitting into the role flawlessly. For her to do what she did (against Notre Dame), to keep it so simple against a savvy, veteran team is really remarkable.”

Pivec said she has been learning a lot each day about the position. Playing with Wiese last year has helped her make the transition.

“She was able to run the show and was a great decision maker so that was great to have that role model last year,” Pivec said. "I liked how she was a great facilitator and she also knew when to score. ... I’m trying to emulate her aggressiveness offensively while also having a good mindset of when it’s time to pass and when it’s time to get (my) teammates involved."

Pivec said she is focusing on learning to make quicker reads, make passes on time and to be aggressive when she needs to.

“I know sometimes against Duke (last Saturday), I should have attacked more when they were playing the passing lanes,” Pivec said. “Just to know when to attack and when to control tempo more.”

Senior center Marie Gulich praised Pivec for the way she is handling the new role and how she is leading the team.

“Seeing Mik in that position and figuring it out, it’s fun to watch,” Gulich said. “She’s making a lot of good progress. Obviously she’s not Syd but the way that she plays, it’s huge for us on the boards, the way she brings the ball up, the way she attacks the basket. I think she’s the perfect point guard for us this season.”

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Sports editor of the Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald

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