No. 8 Beavers roll to victory over Eagles
Oregon State improves to 5-0 on Valley Isle, to face Texas A&M today
LAHAINA — Now the going gets tough for the Oregon State women’s basketball team.
The Maui Jim Maui Classic has become “a second home” according to coach Scott Rueck for the No. 8-ranked Beavers, but they have never faced an opponent like they have lined up tonight in Texas A&M.
Playing at the Lahaina Civic Center after two years at War Memorial Gym, the Beavers improved to 5-0 in the tournament they host with a 93-45 win over Eastern Washington on Friday night.
The Beavers (8-1) and Eagles (1-7) were tied at 13-13 after one quarter.
“I was impressed by Eastern tonight — their game plan was good,” Rueck said. “It was real competitive early and then we got into our rhythm. When that ball started moving, shots started falling. I liked the way our defense impacted them all night tonight.”
Rueck said his team considers Maui its “home away from home.” The assignment gets much tougher now.
“(Friday) was a good night for us, we got to grow a lot,” he said. “Tomorrow we play against a team that’s used to winning a lot of games, with a lot of talent. It will have a conference game feel tomorrow night, which we’re really excited about. A&M is a great program and so it’s going to take a great effort for us to get that ‘W.’ “
Aleah Goodman scored a career-high 22 points and Destiny Slocum added 17 to lead Oregon State. The much-taller Beavers dominated on the glass, outrebounding the Eagles 40-23. Goodman had six assists and Slocum added four.
“I felt really good,” Goodman said. “I was just trying to get what the team needed, whether that was shooting or whatever. I really made it a priority to get to the rim.”
Oregon State shot 33-for-57 (57.9 percent) from the field, including 14-for-27 from 3-point range. Mikayla Pivec had 14 points and Kat Tudor 12 for the Beavers.
Oregon State outscored the Eagles 80-32 in the final three quarters. The Beavers shot 19-for-26 (73.1 percent) in the second half, including 7-for-10 from 3-point range.
Eastern Washington (1-7) was led by Grace Kirscher, who had 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting. The rest of the Eagles shot 11-for-45 from the floor.
“We hung tough for a quarter, you know, they weren’t making 3s the way they’re capable of making 3s I don’t think,” EWU coach Wendy Schuller said. “I thought our kids came out and really tried to stick to what the game plan was early, but in the second quarter Oregon State got going on some 3s.
“That’s why they’re a great team. They’re one of the best teams in the country. They’re long and they can guard, but they also are so potent offensively.”
The Beavers won their sixth game of the season by at least 25 points. The Eagles’ win came over Eastern Oregon of the NAIA. All of EWU’s losses have been by double digits.
The Beavers led 18-17 with just over 7 minutes left in the in the second quarter when Tudor made a layup to spark an 18-0 run that blew the game open.
“I think we were 13-for-16 (shooting) in the third quarter, so as we got accustomed to this gym, it went well,” Rueck said. “It’s been a week since we played, so I thought there was some rust early and then we settled in.”
Tonight’s matchup will feature the last two national freshmen of the year: Slocum and Chennedy Carter for Texas A&M, who had 26 points in the Aggies’ 70-63 win over UC Riverside Friday night.
“You’ve got two unbelievable players,” Rueck said. “Two national freshmen of the year. It’s obviously very rare to see those two matched up and so that’ll be a fun battle to watch tomorrow. There’s probably no stopping either one of them — it’s doing your best to slow them down.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com