CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Mikayla Pivec says the difference this year for the Beavers is versatility.
Pivec had 18 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, and fourth-ranked Oregon State improved to 9-0 with a 75-46 victory over Utah State on Saturday night.
Destiny Slocum had 17 points, including four 3-pointers, for the Beavers. They are off to their best start since the 2014-15 season when they won 10 straight to open the season.
Freshman Taylor Jones had 14 points and 13 rebounds and Oregon State led by as many as 32 points.
While Oregon State is no stranger to success — the team has made it to the Sweet 16 in each of the last four NCAA Tournaments — the No. 4 ranking is the program’s highest, ever.
“I think this team has a lot of different weapons that can hurt you a lot of different ways offensively,” said Pivec, a senior. “This team has a lot of different looks that we can give you. So I think that’s one of our strengths, just our versatility.”
Lindsey Jensen-Baker led Utah State (3-6) with 19 points. It was the Aggies’ third straight loss.
Oregon State, coming off a 64-32 victory over Hawaii last weekend, went on a 10-0 run in the opening quarter to go up 17-5.
The Beavers extended the lead by as many as 20 points in the first half, but Jensen-Baker’s 3-pointer closed Utah State to 35-22 with 2:27 left. Oregon State closed on a 5-0 run for a 44-22 advantage at the break.
Jensen-Baker led all scorers at the break with 13 points, including three 3-pointers.
Jones’ layup pushed Oregon State’s lead to 47-26 in the third period.
“Love the way we started tonight. I thought the team prepared well,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. “I thought Utah State adapted well as we went, and I thought they made great defensive adjustments, kind of put us on our heels a little bit.”
Utah State coach Jerry Finkbeiner stepped down as head coach last month after taking a leave of absence for a non-life threatening health condition. He had coached the Aggies for seven seasons.
Associate head coach Ben Finkbeiner, his son, is serving as interim head coach for the rest of this season.
“Oregon State is good, we know that, so they were what we expected. I think in the first half we didn’t compete quite quite to the level that we wanted to, but I think in the third and fourth quarters, I think you saw our better selves come out, and I was really proud of that for our girls,” Ben Finkbeiner said.
Utah State: Oregon State was the second ranked team that the Aggies have faced this season. Utah State fell to then-No. 1 Oregon on Nov. 13. Utah State is 0-16 against ranked opponents. … Marlene Aniambossou fouled out of the game with 3:47 left in the third quarter.
Oregon State: The Beavers lead the all-time series against the Aggies 4-1. … Oregon State was among 15 undefeated teams in the nation going into the game. … Pivec moved into the top 10 for scoring on Oregon State’s career list.
ONE AWAY: The Beavers are one win short of the team’s record start in 2014-15. Rueck said he was pleased but not surprised with where the team’s at.
“This group is so competitive. They’re warriors. They’re a tough out any night,” Rueck said.
Utah State hosts North Texas on on Monday night.
Oregon State heads to Hawaii for the Maui Jim Classic next week, and will face Northern Arizona on Wednesday and BYU on Thursday. “Who is ready for Maui?” Rueck laughed after the game.