No. 10 Oregon State pulls away to beat Utah 77-65
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Oregon State used a proven formula to rally from a sluggish start against Utah. The No. 10 Beavers attacked the rim, cleaned the glass, and locked down on defense.
It added up to a 77-65 victory over the Utes on Saturday.
Utah shot just 32% from the field while the Beavers built a dam around the basket. On the other end, Oregon State outscored the Utes 34-6 in the paint and shot 47% overall.
“We wanted to get easier buckets,” guard Mikayla Pivec said. “Whether that was driving to score layups or driving to draw their defense, that’s what we wanted to do and we did it well.”
Pivec led the charge with 20 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Kat Tudor added 16 points and Aleah Goodman chipped in 11 for the Beavers.
Oregon State (18-4, 6-4 Pac-12) beat the Utes for the 12th straight time going back to 2013. The Beavers capped off a two-game road swing with a pair of victories after also beating Colorado on Thursday, erasing the bitter aftertaste of a three-game losing streak in late January.
“It gives us a lot of momentum,” Pivec said. “We had a tough two-week stretch, so we had to bounce back. These were two must-wins for us. I’m happy we got them.”
Lola Pendande and Brynna Maxwell scored 17 points apiece while Kiana Moore added 16 to lead Utah (10-11, 3-7). The Utes never got back on track after going cold on offense after the first quarter.
Oregon State opened the second half on a 10-2 run and carved out a 42-34 lead on a layup from Destiny Slocum that finished off the run. Utah closed the gap to 43-41 on back-to-back baskets from Moore and Pendande.
The Beavers slammed the door on a comeback with five straight baskets from five different players that sparked a 19-2 run. Tudor buried a 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to finish off the run and give Oregon State a 62-43 lead.
“It all came together for us in that third quarter,” Beavers coach Scott Rueck said. “Second quarter was mostly defense and then the third quarter was just us playing like we’re capable of. We maintained the defensive intensity and then Mikayla Pivec and Destiny Slocum did a great job getting to the rim.”
Moore gave the Utes a jolt on offense in the first quarter. She scored 11 points in the quarter and helped Utah shake off some early shooting struggles.
Moore drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to help the Utes stake out a 14-9 lead in the first quarter. Then she scored two more back-to-back baskets to help Utah extend its lead to 24-16 going into the second quarter.
The Utes went cold on offense at that point. Utah shot just 7-of-33 from the field over the next two quarters and made a single 3-pointer in that stretch.
“Our shot selection wasn’t great,” Utes coach Lynne Roberts said. “We took some rushed shots and then, defensively, they kind of figured out our action and they were taking away what was there in the first half and we were still trying to shoot those shots.”
Pivec’s best play of the day is one that ultimately did not count. The senior swished a fullcourt shot after the first quarter buzzer sounded.
Oregon State reestablished its dominance on the glass during its road trip to Colorado and Utah. The Beavers averaged 48.5 rebounds over the two games while allowing just 27.5 rebounds per contest. Against the Utes, Oregon State finished with a 47-28 advantage on rebounds and gave up just five offensive boards.
Oregon State: The Beavers capped off a successful road trip by dominating around the basket. They controlled the glass and generated plenty of high percentage shots. It helped Oregon State counteract 17 turnovers.
Utah: The Utes hung tough with a Top-10 opponent for a half, but saw their upset hopes dashed behind a prolonged shooting drought. Utah made just seven total baskets over the second and third quarters after going 8-of-18 from the field in the first quarter.
Oregon State hosts Arizona State on Friday.
Utah visits Washington on Friday.
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/Womenscollegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25