CORVALLIS, Ore. - Jamie Weisner paced the Beavers with a career high 17 points, Alyssa Martin grabbed a personal best 10 rebounds and the Oregon State women's basketball team used a 21-0 spurt in the first half to comfortably down CSU Bakersfield, 71-48, in front of 2,597 fans at Gill Coliseum on Thursday afternoon.
The attendance mark was a product of the first-ever "Beavers Beyond The Classroom" promotion, where the team welcomed elementary and middle school students from across the region to Gill for a field trip day. That number is Oregon State's largest non-conference regular season crowd in the last 17 years. OSU welcomed 4,118 fans to see a 62-51 victory over Montana on Dec. 22, 1995.
"It was an awesome crowd today," Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck said. "Everyone worked really hard to put this together, the staff did an awesome job, marketing did a great job and I'm so happy that we were able to host almost 2,000 students from around our area. That was such a cool atmosphere to play in front of and we're looking forward to that continuing year after year."
On the court, Weisner's prolific effort was part of a first-half onslaught in which everything was working for the Beavers. Bakersfield jumped out to an early 8-6 lead just three minutes into the game before OSU put the clamps on defensively and ran roughshod over CSUB on the offensive end. After the `Runners went up by two, Oregon State proceeded to put together an astounding 21-0 run over the next seven minutes - going 7-for-12 from the floor and 6-for-7 from the free throw line.
Bakersfield scored at the 16:58 mark in the first half to grab that early lead, its only one of the game, and wouldn't score again until there was 9:24 on the clock. The Beavers' defense forced the Roadrunners into bad decisions and poor shots. During that stretch, CSUB went 0-for-12 from the floor and turned the ball over three times.
Freshman Ruth Hamblin started the run with a free throw and then Deven Hunter made a layup and Weisner drained two from the line herself. Hamblin added another lay-in before Weisner did the same and was fouled, converting the three-point play. Samantha Siegner got in on the action with an easy bucket of her own and was backed up by up-and-in scoops from ShaKiana Edwards-Teasley and Mollee Schwegler. Edwards-Teasley capped off the run with a pair of free throws and another layup and when the dust had settled, Oregon State enjoyed a 19-point lead, 27-8.
The Beavers grew that margin a bit before settling for the same edge heading into the locker room, 41-22. In what was easily the best first half of basketball OSU has played thus far, the team shot 44 percent from the floor and was led by the freshman Weisner, who ended her first 20 minutes of action with 15 points on 5-for-6 shooting.
"Jamie is a great shooter and you can count on everything she's got every minute," Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck said. "It takes everyone a while to adapt when you step up to the next level and to find that comfort zone in an offense that is new to you is just a normal progression. [Now] I think everyone has relaxed a little bit and I thought you saw that today throughout our team, not just with Jamie. Jamie was obviously the one who put the points on the board for us in the first half so I think everyone is getting to see who she is as a basketball player."
In the second half, CSU Bakersfield cut the deficit to 12 midway through the period before the Beavers went on a 17-2 run over the next 7:22 to secure a stranglehold on the game.
In addition to her solid scoring day, Weisner also added a career high three steals. OSU dominated the glass, outrebounding the `Runners 57-37 and were led by a trio in that category. Martin had a career best 10 boards, Deven Hunter also grabbed 10 to up her season average to 7.5 per game and Ali Gibson tied her personal record with nine.
The Beavers 57 total rebounds were their most in over a decade. Oregon State had 61 boards against Washington State on Dec. 28, 2001.
Oregon State's tough-minded effort was again spearheaded by some superb play from Rueck's bench, which scored 45 of his squad's 71 points. On the year, OSU's non-starters have accounted for 47 percent of its offensive output (171-of-364 points).
"Ideally you want to be deep like that and I thought the way we defended today was an opportunity for us to be able to develop our depth a little bit," Rueck said. "We had some people play longer minutes than they're used to playing and I think it was a great opportunity for that and is just going to make us stronger as we go."