LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP)It was evident early that No. 4 Oregon State planned to make the most of its distinct size advantage over Northern Arizona.
Freshman center Taylor Jones had a double-double by halftime and the Beavers pulled away from the Lumberjacks for a 91-57 victory Wednesday night in the Maui Jim Maui Classic.
Oregon State (10-0) never trailed and led Northern Arizona (2-6) by as many as 34 points.
The 6-foot-4 Jones had 17 points and 10 rebounds in the first half. She finished with a career-best 25 points on 12-of-18 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds, including seven offensive boards.
”We knew that (the Lumberjacks) could give us a lot in the post, just because of the size difference, and so we wanted to capitalize on that and I think our guards did a really good job of getting the ball into the posts and the posts did a good job of finishing,” Jones said.
The Beavers scored on their first five possessions, including three consecutive baskets inside by Jones, to take an early 12-2 lead that was never threatened.
”Taylor Jones having a double-double at halftime kind of told you what our game plan was – our advantage was inside. She did a great job of establishing position and our team found her and she was relentless under there,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said.
Rueck also praised the play of fellow freshman post Kennedy Brown, who pulled down nine rebounds.
”I thought Kennedy Brown also had a bunch of offensive rebounds in the first half and brought great energy, so those two young bigs really helped us separate early in this game,” Rueck said.
Mikayla Pivec added 14 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Beavers. Destiny Slocum had 13 points, four rebounds and four assists, and Maddie Washington chipped in with 12 points.
Jones came within two points of tying the tournament record set by Texas A&M’s Chennedy Carter last year.
”This week in practice we’ve been working a lot on the details of our game and we wanted to focus a lot on that coming out here, so I think that’s what we did best was focusing on the little details and that just caused our game to flow,” Jones said.
Oregon State outrebounded the Lumberjacks 54-20 and dominated points in the paint (48-22) and second-chance points (18-2).
The Beavers shot 53% from the field to 39% for the Lumberjacks.
”It’s tough, you know? I mean, obviously we’re a mid-major team and it’s hard to get even one 6-3 or 6-4 kid, let alone go up against how big they are,” Northern Arizona coach Loree Payne said. ”They’re solid. I mean, they’re No. 4 in the country for a reason. They’re incredibly deep, very talented, and it was tough. I mean, they crushed us on the boards and at the end of the day that was a huge difference because they just got so many more possessions because of the rebounding.”
Jacey Bailey led Northern Arizona with 10 points in the first meeting between the schools since 2009. The Beavers are 3-0 in the series.
Oregon State was ahead 49-27 at halftime.
Northern Arizona has lost four of five. It was the second-most points the team has allowed this season, behind a 98-79 loss at California Baptist.
Oregon State matched the best start in program history. The Beavers also opened 10-0 during the 2014-15 season on the way to a 27-5 mark.
The Beavers are hosting the four-team tournament on Maui for the fourth consecutive season and brought with them a contingent of about 200 fans for the two-day event.
”It’s such a pleasure to look up and see so much orange,” Rueck said. ”Beaver Nation is unbelievable. They travel with us everywhere, support us in unbelievable ways, and so it does feel absolutely like home because we’ve been here so often, we love the people of this island, and because we’re supported so well by our own.”
Northern Arizona plays San Jose State on Thursday. The Lumberjacks are 4-2 all-time against the Spartans, but their last win in the series came during the 2010-11 season.
Oregon State faces BYU on Thursday, the third meeting between the teams in Hawaii in four seasons. The Beavers beat the Cougars on Oahu in 2015 and again the following year in the inaugural Maui Classic.
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