ORU women top TU to win Mayor's Cup
BY MIKE MOGUIN World Correspondent
Saturday, November 10, 2012
11/10/12 at 5:26 AM
Related Story: Oral Roberts 'manhandled' in season-opening loss at UTEP
Senior Kevi Luper scored 23 points and Taylor Cooper produced 19 in her freshman debut to help Oral Roberts to a 64-53 season-opening victory against Tulsa on Friday night before 3,119 at the Mabee Center.
Luper had the game-high, but Cooper was the focus of post-game press conference.
Cooper, a forward who helped Shawnee to the Class 5A state championship as a high school senior last March, hit 5-of-7 3-pointers and was 5-of-10 from the field.
"When we needed the big shot, she was there," ORU senior guard Jaci Bigham said. "When we needed a stop, she was there."
ORU's defense also forced Tulsa (0-1) into scoring lulls through the middle stretch of the game. The Hurricane struggled from the field, shooting 33.9 percent from the field.
Cooper also added four rebounds and three steals.
Savanna Buck also was a plus for the Golden Eagles with a game-high 12 rebounds.
The win gave ORU (1-0) its first win in the Mayor's Cup since 2009. TU won the previous two years.
"I couldn't take another loss to Tulsa," Bigham said. "It meant everything. We have not finished the game well the last two years. I feel like we earned it throughout the game in every game throughout my career, and we just kind of blown it in the last couple of minutes. I thought tonight, we did a good job of learning from our mistakes in the past and really coming through and working hard together and getting it done."
In last season's game, ORU had a five-point lead at halftime before succumbing to a 65-57 defeat at the Reynolds Center.
But on Friday night, the Golden Eagles used a 10-2 late first-half run to lead 38-30 at halftime and never relinquished the lead.
Freshman Ashley Clark led Tulsa with 12 points and senior guard Taleya Mayberry added 10.
Before ORU's late spurt before intermission, the game was an intense scoring battle, but he Golden Eagles took control of the game with that go-ahead run.
Luper got four points in the stretch, including a basket that gave ORU the lead for good at 30-28 with 4:05 in the period. Cooper later drilled a 3 that made the score 36-28. Another basket from Luper brought the score to 38-30 before halftime.
"I thought Oral Roberts played us extremely well," Tulsa coach Matilda Mossman said. "They jumped on us early, and I thought we had trouble attacking their zone, even through it was the same zone they had been running for years.
"We thought we were ready for it. We had practiced well to get ready for it. We just didn't attack it well, and that was huge."
Free throws by Luper gave ORU its largest advantage at 50-32 with 12:37 remaining. TU trimmed the lead, drawing to within 60-53 after a jumper from Tiffani Cousinard with 49 seconds left.
ORU shot 44 percent (22-of-50) in field goals, while Tulsa was limited to 34 percent (19-of-56).
Both teams had struggling nights from the foul line, with ORU connecting on 54 percent (14-of-26) and TU getting 53 percent (9-of-17).
Original Print Headline: ORU tops TU to win Mayor's Cup
ORU: at UT-Arlington
2 p.m. Friday
TU: vs. UALR
7 p.m. Monday
TU's Ashley Clark tries to block a drive by ORU's Kevi Luper on Friday night at the Mabee Center. SHANE BEVEL / For the Tulsa World
Mayor Dewey Bartlett congratulates Kevi Luper (middle) and teammate Jaci Bigham after ORU's win over TU in the Mayor's Cup at the Mabee Center. SHANE BEVEL / For the Tulsa World
TU's Ashley Clark collides with ORU's Jaci Bigham on Friday night. SHANE BEVEL / For the Tulsa World