Jones, No. 7 Oregon State Tower Over No. 18 DePaul 98-77
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Taylor Jones anticipated she’d play a major role for No. 7 Oregon State on Thursday night. The 6-foot-4 freshman delivered.
Jones had 24 points and nine rebounds, and the Beavers exploited a significant height advantage to beat No. 18 DePaul 98-77 in the semifinals of the Preseason WNIT.
Jones scored the Beavers’ first eight points and added three blocks. She scored 15 first-half points, helping OSU (3-0) take a 46-31 lead at the break.
“Definitely preparing, I was told they fronted in the post, so just push ‘em as high as you possibly can and just stick your hand up and the guards will pass you ball,” said Jones, who was 9 of 15 from the field.
Kennedy Brown, a 6-6 freshman, had nine of her 13 points in the first half for the Beavers.
OSU hosts Missouri State on Sunday in the championship game.
The Blue Demons (2-1), who do not have a player taller than 6-2, had no answers for OSU’s inside strength.
“It is a huge team. There’s no doubt about that,” DePaul coach Doug Bruno said.
OSU has featured outstanding post players in recent years, including Ruth Hamblin from the 2016 Final Four team, and they have a couple more on this season’s squad.
“Taylor’s way ahead of schedule, the sky’s the limit for her,” OSU coach Scott Rueck said. “And Kennedy’s very similar. We have two post players that can both play down low, that have incredible feet and incredible hands and a feel for the game that’s really unique.”
The Beavers broke open a close game with a 13-0 second-quarter run, ending with Destiny Slocum’s 3-pointer that extended the lead to 41-27.
Aleah Goodman connected from half court at the third-quarter buzzer, giving OSU a 73-54 advantage.
The lead grew to 27 points in the fourth quarter.
OSU shot 55.7 percent from the field compared to 36.1 percent for DePaul, and the Beavers had a 56-34 advantage on the boards.
Slocum (17 points, six assists) Goodman (16 points), Jasmine Simmons (10) and Mikayla Pivec (10) also were in double figures for the Beavers.
“Our depth is absolutely going to be one of our strengths as we go forward,” Rueck said.
Sophomore guard Sonya Morris led DePaul with 29 points. Leading scorer Chante Stonewall added 16 points, but was just 7 of 25 from the field, including 0 for 10 on 3-pointers.
DePaul: The Blue Demons took a step up in competition but didn’t shoot well enough to compensate for their lack of height. Playing a Top 10 team on the road figures to help DePaul as they prepare for the Big East season.
Oregon State: OSU senior guard Kat Tudor made her season debut after missing the last 21 games of last season with a knee injury. With 178 career 3-pointers, Tudor’s long-range shooting could be a major asset for the Beavers as she works her way back into the rotation. She was 0 for 3 from behind the arc Thursday.
OSU hosts Missouri State on Sunday.
DePaul will be at home Nov. 22 vs. Arkansas State.