While Oregon State was probably in no real danger, the No. 9 Beavers had gone without a field goal for more than three minutes in the second quarter until Jasmine Simmons made a layup.
The bucket put Oregon State up 33-14, but more importantly it ignited a 14-2 closing run over the last 3 minutes, 13 seconds of the first half.
Simmons then capped the run with a steal and a layup as the Beavers took a 45-16 edge on La Salle into the locker room.
For good measure, a 19-3 run to open the third quarter more than made the second half a breeze for the Beavers, who cruised to a 100-46 nonconference women's basketball victory over the Explorers before a Gill Coliseum crowd of 4,016.
Simmons, a freshman guard, finished with a career-high with 11 points in 17 minutes and the Beavers outscored the Explorers by 22 with her on the court.
“Jas does a really good job of being aggressive and I was happy with how confident she was playing out there and not afraid to make mistakes and going for it,” said junior guard Mikayla Pivec, who had yet another solid game with 10 points and nine rebounds while drawing six fouls.
“She has a lot of talent and you can see how quickly she can go by her defender. So just having her continue to be more confident each game will be big for us.”
Kat Tudor led five Beavers in double figures with 24 off the bench. Simmons and Taya Corosdale each had 11 and Pivec and Janessa Thropay chipped in 10 apiece.
Corosdale finished with a double-double as she had 10 rebounds as well as seven assists.
“She was just a steadying force for us today,” coach Scott Rueck said. “Her game tends to be quiet and you don’t think man, Taya almost got a triple-double until you look at the stats. She had a phenomenal game and is such a key to everything we do.”
Maddie Washington, who started for the first time this season, finished with eight points, nine rebounds and two steals.
“Maddie did a great job at the five starting for the first time, Janessa came in and did her thing like she does and then Jo (Grymek) came in and gave us great minutes,” Rueck said. “I thought we did a really good job passing her the ball on time today.”
Oregon State (6-1), coming off that tough 91-81 loss to No. 1 Notre Dame in the title game of the Vancouver Showcase last Saturday, wasn’t as sharp as it has been this season in the first quarter.
The Beavers scored the first seven points and led 15-2 but hit just 6 of 19 field goal attempts in the period. Still, they led 18-8 after one as the Explorers were just 3 for 19 from the floor.
After Tudor his her second 3 of the second quarter to put the Beavers up 28-13 with 6:37 left, Oregon State managed just three free throws over the next 3-plus minutes before Simmons’ layup.
The Beavers went 9 for 14 from field, including 4 for 5 from 3, in the second quarter alone.
Rueck said the Explorers wanted to make it a 5-on-5 game and the Beavers struggled early to turn their stops into easy points.
“Once we settled in and that ball started moving, it was absolutely beautiful to watch,” he said. “This team’s unselfishness was apparent today.”
The Beavers dominated on the glass, outrebounding La Salle 68-22. That was an area of emphasis after the Vancouver Showcase.
“Rebounding is easy to take for granted,” Rueck said. “This week we kind of went through the fundamentals and we broke it down and we slowed it down and let them feel from a slow-motion standpoint what it feels like and what it’s supposed to feel like and when you release to get the ball.
“Those reps probably helped us. I felt like our defensive positioning was great today.”
The Beavers have another extended break from game action as they will next host Santa Clara at 2 p.m. on Dec. 9. They leave for a two-day tournament in Hawaii after that.