Last-second basket dooms ORU women against McNeese State
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Sunday, January 27, 2013
1/27/13 at 5:47 AM
Oral Roberts permitted McNeese State to grab 18 offensive rebounds Saturday. The Golden Eagles didn't have time to overcome the last one.
Arianna James got a put-back basket with 0.4 seconds remaining, giving the Cowgirls a 72-71 victory and dealing the Golden Eagles their first Southland Conference homecourt defeat.
"This game got lost to a lack of rebounding," ORU coach Misti Cussen said afterward. "It's just that simple."
ORU did everything right on a last-gasp defensive possession except secure a rebound. McNeese State guard Caitlyn Baggett drove into the paint and missed a shot over defender Kevi Luper, who shadowed Baggett and gave ground at the end to avoid drawing a foul.
The ball tumbled off the rim and, at least briefly, ORU appeared to have won a scrum for possession. Then James popped free with the ball and tossed in the game-winner.
"I felt like we had about four of our hands on (the ball)," Cussen said. "That's just one of those that I don't care if you put it into your jersey and fall to the floor with it. Just don't let the other team have it. That's just want-to. It's just so frustrating."
Cussen said it wasn't just the last McNeese State offensive rebound which doomed ORU. The Golden Eagles missed 17 other opportunities to deny offensive rebounds.
"(But) that's the one I will be thinking about at three o'clock this morning when I am laying there not asleep yet."
Cussen and her staff have emphasized the importance of defensive rebounding to players, who got a reminder after surrendering 11 offensive rebounds in the first half. Cussen said the Golden Eagles "have to be better at this" because the season will be dictated by how well they do on the defensive glass. She said her team is capable in other categories.
"But at the end of the day, it's the toughness factor of defensive rebounding," she said.
Uncharacteristically, ORU committed two turnovers in the last two minutes to give McNeese State a chance to be in position to win.
A victory would have allowed ORU to move into a second-place tie with Central Arkansas. The Golden Eagles fell to 8-10 overall and 5-3 in league play, losing to a McNeese State team (10-9, 5-3) which was picked to win the league and which has been to consecutive NCAA Tournaments.
ORU got 20 points each from Jaci Bigham and Taylor Cooper.
McNeese State put four players in double figures and three had the same last name. Caitlyn Baggett, seventh-leading scorer in program history, scored 15. Twin sister Ashlyn Baggett, second-leading scorer in school history, scored 12. Younger sister Allison Baggett added 13. They simultaneously scored in double figures for the second time in their careers.
Original Print Headline: Late basket dooms ORU
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389