Beavers out-pace Mustangs in season opener

Junior point guard Mikayla Pivec goes up hard for the lay up. Pivec scored 15 points on the night, helping the Beavers to a victory in their home opener at Gill Coliseum. 

Lauren Sluss, News Contributor

OSU Women’s Basketball defeated the Mustangs of Cal Poly 79-54 tonight at Gill Coliseum, tipping off the 2018-2019 season.

Coming off a 26-8 overall 2017-18 season and making it to the Elite-8, the Beavers were looking to start out the new season strong—something which Head Coach Scott Rueck thought was accomplished.

“I was proud of our team; I thought we just got better as it went,” Rueck said. “We settled for shots a little quick on the perimeter early and then settled in and played more inside-out the second half, which is more traditional for us. I’m proud of the effort and happy with the win, and really grateful for Beaver Nation coming out like they did.”

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Junior guard Mikayla Pivec and redshirt sophomore guard Destiny Slocum led the team in points, each pulling 15 points by the end of the game.  

“Being able to be out there with my team today, I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Slocum said. “I’m blessed to be able to be out on the floor with them and be coached by Scott and the rest of the staff. I’m happy to just be a part of it now.”

Junior guard Kat Tudor followed closely behind, making five field goals and four three-pointers for a total of 14 points. Pivec also led the team with nine rebounds, three offensive and six defensive.

Slocum and Pivec fell into an effective pattern—Slocum using her ball-handling skills to drive into the paint, then passing the ball back out wide to Pivec, waiting on the wing for the shot. The strategy was successful in the first half, making six three pointers of 17 taken.

The two attribute their closeness on and off the court to their successful chemistry.

“Destiny and I were roommates last year, so we have a lot of chemistry together,” Pivec said. “We’ve known each other for a while and I think we’re being more and more comfortable with each other. She uses the court so well, so we need to be ready to shoot when she passes it to us and be ready to take advantage of that.”

Although OSU led 36-24 at the half, Rueck thought the first half saw too many three point shots.

“I thought the shots were all good; they really were. The problem was that’s all they were,” Rueck said. “Second half we made it a point to talk about that; we wanted to be inside-out and get to the rim We need to shoot off penetration and off catching the ball in the post, or at least getting it there.”

Rueck thought the team adjusted accordingly for the remainder of the game.

“I saw a much more concerted effort to get to the rim and down the stretch; that was the final separation in the game I thought,” Rueck added. “We shot the ball a little bit better after that was happening.”

Cal Poly’s offense saw strong opposition. The Mustangs saw a couple post moves from junior forward Alicia Roufosse and sophomore forward Kirsty Brown when Grymek was on the bench, but Cal Poly was forced to utilize primarily jump shots, seeing 24 successful field goals of 65 taken.

The Mustangs’ senior center Devin Stanback proved herself to be dangerous, dominating the scoreboard with 26 points, 11 shots and four three-pointers. Junior forward Alicia Roufosse followed second in points, totaling six.

Rueck said the team will work on rebounds moving forward, something he thought was lacking in tonight’s game despite narrowly pulling five more balls off the glass than Cal Poly.

“The other day we out-rebounded our opponent by 30 I think, and tonight with four minutes to go we were down one on the boards,” Rueck said. “It’s just one of the things we’re learning. We obviously need to be more dominant on that end—it’s what we are; it’s who we are.”

The Beavers will have the chance to pull more rebounds during their next matchup against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Nov. 14 at 11 a.m. in Gill Coliseum.