With a record crowd on hand for its annual Beavers Beyond the Classroom game, the Oregon State women’s basketball team fed off that energy and cruised to an 89-33 nonconference victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff early Wednesday afternoon.
With a crowd of 8,828 that was dominated by screaming elementary school children, Gill Coliseum was at its loudest. And the Beavers made sure to keep them cheering.
“I thought our team did a great job capitalizing on that momentum,” coach Scott Rueck said. “They brought a lot themselves. I thought we played really hard today.
Destiny Slocum and Mikayla Pivec both had double-doubles — Slocum with 15 points and 11 assists and Pivec with 12 points and 14 rebounds — as the Beavers bolted to an early lead and continued to keep the pressure on the Golden Lions.
"We had a great opportunity to inspire the little kids and try to make this game fun for them and I think we did a pretty good job of that," Pivec said.
Added Slocum: "The atmosphere was amazing. It’s our job to be role models for all those kids in there and I think that’s what we did."
Kat Tudor led all scorers with 18 points and also grabbed eight rebounds, while Katie McWilliams chipped in a quiet 13 points and five rebounds. Freshman Jasmine Simmons added seven points and four assists in her first extended minutes and Joanna Grymek chipped in eight points and five rebounds.
Thanks to a 22-0 run to close the first quarter — the Beavers held UAPB scoreless the last 7 minutes, 41 seconds — OSU led 26-4. Six different players scored in the run.
After a UAPB bucket opened the second quarter, the Beavers went on a 13-0 run and took a 48-10 lead into the half.
Oregon State was 19 for 37 from the floor and had 13 steals in the first half while limiting UAPB into a 4-for-29 shooting performance in the half.
While she was the only player not to score, Janessa Thropay made a bid to break the single-game steals record at Oregon State. Thropay, a junior post, had seven in eight-plus first-half minutes.
She finished with eight, two back of the record Talisa Rhea set on Oct. 16, 2008 against Sacramento State.
“I was so proud of her,” Rueck said. “Basketball’s an interesting game. You don’t have to score a point to have a major impact on a game and I thought she set the tone for us in many ways once she got on the floor.”
Thropay, who played 18 minutes, seemed to be all over the court in the first half, diving on the floor for loose balls and extending plays with her hustle.
That’s the kind of effort Rueck took notice of the first time he saw Thropay on the recruiting trail.
“Those are things that we’ve been watching for a long time,” he said. “She’s learned to pick her spots, she’s learned to play within the game. She would much rather run into somebody than around, that’s just how she’s made.”
With Marie Gulich off to the WNBA, the post position is open for competition, and Thropay has put her name in the hat to fill it.
“She’s been in the shadows of so many great posts here and now she worked hard and created that opportunity for herself, not only to get on the floor but to be as successful as she is,” Rueck said.
UAPB had a competitive third quarter, scoring 16 points to the Beavers’ 22, Oregon State had a 19-7 edge in the fourth.
The Beavers forced 22 turnovers, including 16 steals, and were able to get out and run often. They finished with 27 fastbreak points.
“A lot of Janessa’s steals or tips defensively led straight to our break,” Pivec said. “So we just try to make the most of those opportunities and capitalize on them when we were pushing it in transition.”
Oregon State has one more home game — at 6 p.m. Saturday against Saint Mary’s — before hitting the road to play in a tournament in Vancouver, British Columbia.