No. 7 Oregon State opens with 86-57 win over UC Irvine

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Taylor Jones felt just a twinge of nervousness before her first official college game. It sure didn't show.

As her parents looked on, the 6-foot-4 freshman from Texas had 20 points, all in the first half, and added 10 rebounds for No. 7 Oregon State in an 86-57 victory over UC Irvine Saturday night in the Preseason WNIT Tournament.

"It's just fun playing here, so I wasn't super nervous," Jones said.

Oregon State (1-0) will host Pacific in the second round of the season-opening tournament on Monday.

Mikayla Pivec came close to a triple double with 25 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Beavers, who went 26-8 and advanced to the Sweet 16 last season for the fourth consecutive year.

"Nothing Mik ever does ever surprises me," Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said.

Oregon State led 45-31 at the half over the smaller Anteaters (1-1), who were led by Jordan Sanders with 23 points. Sanders averaged 20.3 points per game last season and was among the nation's top five returning scorers. Lauren Saiki added 14 points.

UC Irvine, picked to finish first in the Big West in the preseason coaches' poll, opened with a 79-77 victory at home over San Jose State. The Anteaters return eight players from the team that went 21-11 last season. It was the first time Irvine won 20-plus games since the 1984-85 season.

"Look, the size, we knew. And they can shoot the three, there's really no weakness in their game," Irvine coach Tamara Inoue said about the Beavers. "For us it's just getting after it, making it difficult for them, having challenge shots and just attacking them on offense and not shying away from them. So I thought we did a good job. Once they starting hitting three after three, that's where we kind of fell down."

Jones had 14 points as Oregon State jumped out to a 27-17 first quarter lead. The Beavers wrapped up the opening period on a 10-2 run.

Jones was considered a five-star recruit out of Forney, Texas, with double-doubles in all of her games in her senior year. She had 27 points and 12 rebounds in the Beavers' opening exhibition game against Union of Tennessee.

"I thought the team in general just weathered a style of play that's unique early. There's no real way to replicate the way Irvine plays other than to play against them," Rueck said. "And it took us a while, but I really loved the way we settled in, the way we competed and the way we adapted to the game. I thought that showed a lot of maturity within our team and a resilience."

The Beavers built a 24-point lead in the third quarter when Aleah Goodman's 3-pointer made it 64-40. Oregon State led by as many as 35 points in the game and made 12 of 24 3-point attempts.

Goodman finished with 12 points and 10 assists.


UC Irvine: The Anteaters have not won against a Top 25 opponent since 1985, and they've never won versus a team in the top 10. ... Irvine's last victory over a Pac-12 team came in 1999, when they beat Oregon State. It was the only win for the Anteaters in the all-time series.

Oregon State: The Beavers' No. 7 ranking is the highest in the preseason in program history. ... The Beavers dropped an exhibition to the U.S. national team earlier this week, on 81-56. On Saturday No. 1 Oregon defeated Team USA 93-86, becoming the just the second college team ever to beat the national team. ... The game was part of a doubleheader at Gill Coliseum, earlier in the day the Oregon men beat Iowa State 80-74.

PROUD: "They play extremely hard all the time. They don't ever hang their heads. They'll go after it," Inoue said about her team. "Our point guard, Lauren Saiki, is really smart in the sense of finding isolations and finding plays that work for our team to get the best shot. And Jordan Sanders, you know, never shies away from anything. Giving her the ball is a guaranteed shot."


UC Irvine was eliminated from the tournament, so next up is Loyola Marymount on Nov. 19.

The Beavers will have three home games in the preseason WNIT, with Pacific up first on Monday. The next game is set for Thursday at Gill Coliseum.