Oregon State's Jamie Weisner equaled her career high, pouring in 27 points Sunday afternoon, and it led the 8th ranked Beavers to a 72-53 win over Utah. Weisner also had 7 rebounds and 4 steals, but was happiest with her 8 for 8 free throw shooting.
And it started quickly, as Weisner hit 2 free throws and a 2 to cap an 11-0 first quarter run that broke the game open early, opening a 19-7 lead.
Then Weisner broke into double digits with a 4 only 6 1/2 minutes into the game.
When asked postgame if she felt good about the start, Weisner said "Yup, I guess you could say that."
The game might have been over had Oregon State stayed on task, but then the Beavers went to sleep offensively, and Utah answered with a 5-0 run to the end of the first quarter, and extended the run to 11-2 early in the second quarter, to pull back within 24-20.
Weisner re-entered after a break and immediately woke up the Beaver offense, and with the help of a Taylor Kalmer 3, reopened a 10 point, 34-24 lead by halftime. Utah would never get the game within single digits again.
Back to back baskets by Deven Hunter, back to back baskets by Weisner, and a 2 + 1 3 point play by Sydney Weise, above, AP photo, opened 3 different 15 point leads in the 3rd quarter, and the Beavers led 54-41 heading to the final period.
It took a while to finally put Utah out of their misery though, and it was still a 12 point game when Joseta Fatuesi scored to pull the Utes within 60-48 with 8 minutes to go.
But the Beaver defense clamped down, and the Utes wouldn't score from the floor again for the rest of the afternoon.
Ruth Hamblin and Weisner did all of the rest of the scoring for Oregon State as the Beavers proceeded to pull away.
Weisner extended the lead to 18 on her last 2 free throws of the game, and Oregon State saw their largest lead of the game, 20 points, when Hamblin capped her double double day with the basket that made it 72-52.
About the only thing that went wrong for Weisner on the afternoon was the 3 pointer that would have established a new career high rimmed out.
"I was hoping that last 3 would go in," Oregon State Coach Scott Rueck said. "I'm not usually into numbers, but she deserves it."
Compared to Weisner's game long scoring show, no one else's day seemed all that impressive, but Hamblin did have a double double, with 14 points, and a game high 11 rebounds, and also blocked 5 shots, one including below, AP photo, against Fatuesi.
Most of Hamblin's production, other than her shot blocking, came in the 4th quarter, after what had been a disappointing afternoon.
"Ruth struggled in the first half, " Rueck acknowledged, "and it was good to see her come out and have a good second half."
Hunter finished with 11, and while Wiese had only 7 points, she was in double digits, with a season high 10 assists, to go with a pair of steals and a pair of blocked shots.
Paige Crozin led Utah with 16 points, and just missed a double double, with a team high 9 rebounds, and Fatuesi chipped in 13. But beyond 10 points, mostly in the middle portion of the game, by Teneaya Boclair, they got little help from anyone else.
Oregon State almost totally shut down Emily Potter, Utah's leading scorer and rebounder. Potter, who averages a double double, at 16.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, didn't score until more than 3 minutes into the 3rd quarter, and didn't score again, and only got to 4 rebounds.
That was part of a 44-36 edge on the boards for the Beavers, including 17 on the offensive end, which played a strong second part behind Weisner's performance in the win.
"That's easier said than done," Rueck said of the effort on the glass. "They are very physical, and 1 of only 2 teams who have out-rebounded us this year (in the team's first meeting), so it was a point of emphasis for us today, but still a great accomplishment."
That said, the game could have been a lot more lopsided a lot sooner, but for the continued grating officiating in the Pac-12 that prevents anything resembling offensive flow from breaking out, and some things the Beavers did to themselves.
Not unlike in Friday night's what wound up being a blowout win over Colorado, Oregon State didn't play like the #8 team in the country for extended stretches. But a lot of that has to do with Coach Rueck not only playing a lot of bench players, but also trying a lot of combinations of things, essentially using games against opposition that is good, but not good enough to contend in this conference, as extended practice sessions.
The flip side is having the starters fresh and free of foul trouble for shut down stretch runs like we saw both nights in the 4th quarter, and the payoff might be having a couple of extra things to pull out in a pinch come tournament time.
It's also a reward for the second string for their work, which Rueck noted.
"Friday night, I was still here at 11:30, long after the place emptied out, and I hear the sound of shots hitting the net. It was Taylor (Kalmer), still working on her shot, after a big win, at that hour of the night. That's the kind of effort that led to those 2 shots she sank in the 2nd quarter, when the game was still in doubt."
Oregon State improved to 22-3, and 13-1 in the Pac-12, while Utah dropped to 14-11, and 6-8 in conference, tied for 7th after getting swept in the valley.
Rueck notched his 400th career coaching victory between his time at George Fox and Oregon State with the win, Oregon State's 12th in a row, which ensures the Beavers will have at least a share of the Pac-12 lead, pending tonight's Arizona State at Stanford game, when Oregon State hosts the LA schools next weekend, for the final regular season home games for Weisner, Hamblin, Hunter, as well as Smanatha Siegner and Jen'Von'Tae Hill.
Oregon State hosts USC Friday night at 8 PM, and UCLA, the only team to beat the Beavers so far in conference play, next Sunday evening at 6 PM.