ORU Looks to Continue Winning Streak at IPFW

The Oral Roberts University women’s basketball team will try to continue their seven-game winning streak at 6:00 p.m. CT on Monday at IPFW. The broadcast can be heard live in the Tulsa area on KYAL 1550 AM, as well as on www.orugoldeneagles.com

Scouting the Mastodons

IPFW is currently 11-12 overall and defeated Centenary on Saturday by a score of 68-28 to improve to 8-4 in the Summit League. Stephanie Rosado leads the Mastodons with 13.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Anne Boese is avearging 12.6 points per contest and leads the Summit League with 74 3-pointers, while Chelsey Jackson is also averaging in double figures with 10.0 points per game. IPFW is scoring 64.1 points per contest and holding their opponents to only 61.2 points per game. The Mastodons are being outrebounded by a 2.6 margin, while turning the ball over 17.3 times per game.

All-Time Results Versus IPFW

Monday’s contest marks the seventh meeting between the two schools, as ORU holds a 4-2 advantage over IPFW. The Golden Eagles won the first four contests against IPFW since joining the Summit League for the 2007-08 season, but have lost the last two games. ORU lost on a buzzer beater against the Mastodons on Jan. 9 at the Mabee Center.

The Last Time They Met

Chelsey Jackson knocked down a jumper as time expired to lift IPFW to a 74-72 victory over Oral Roberts on Jan. 9 at the Mabee Center. Kevi Luper scored the final seven points for ORU, including a game-tying layup with 12.1 seconds remaining, before Jackson came down to hit the game-winner. The Golden Eagles trailed by 13 points at the half and as many as 16 points early in the second half. ORU went on a 9-0 run to cut the margin to eight points before the Mastodons scored the next four to extend their lead back to 12 points at the 13:55 mark. ORU then went on a 15-2 run, capped by two consecutive steals for layups by Savanna Buck, to take its first lead of the second half at the 8:10 mark. After IPFW scored the next four points, the Golden Eagles went on a 7-0 run, highlighted by a Luper trey, to reclaim a four-point lead with 6:15 remaining. The Mastodons would drain 3-pointers on four of their next five possessions to take a four-point lead with under a minute remaining.

Luper Earns Sixth Summit League Weekly Award

Freshman guard Kevi Luper earned her conference-record sixth Summit League Player of the Week award on Tuesday. Luper averaged 26.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game last week as the Golden Eagles defeated South Dakota State and North Dakota State to take sole possession of first place in the Summit League standings. For the week, Luper shot 48 percent (20-of-42) from the field and 81 percent (13-of-16) from the free throw line. Luper kicked off the year by earning four consecutive player of the week awards, marking the first player in Summit League history to win four straight weekly honors, and claimed her fifth accolade on Dec. 22. Luper currently leads the nation in steals per game (4.3) and ranks fourth in scoring (25.0). Luper and fellow freshman Jaci Bigham have claimed nine of the 12 Summit League Player of the Week awards this season.

Among the Nation’s Best

The Golden Eagles are at or near the top of several statistical categories in the NCAA for team and individual accomplishments. ORU leads the nation in steals with 15.3 per game, while ranking second in the country in scoring behind Oregon and ahead of UConn with 84.5 points per game,  third in 3-point field goals per game (8.8), 12th in turnover margin (+6.2) and 30th in assists per game (15.6). Kevi Luper tops the NCAA in steals per game (4.3), while ranking fourth in scoring with 25.0 points per contest. Fellow freshman Jaci Bigham ranks 12th nationally with 3.1 3-pointers per game, while placing 19th in 3-point percentage (.434) and 32nd with 5.3 assists per game.

The Kids are Alright

Jaci Bigham and Kevi Luper make up the nation’s highest-scoring backcourt, combining for 43.1 points per contest through the opening 23 games this season, which accounts for 48 percent of ORU’s total offense. Luper, who scored a Summit League-record 44 points against La Salle on Nov. 20, ranks fourth in the country with 25.0 points per game, while Bigham has chipped in 18.1 points per contest. Luper set a conference record by earning four consecutive Summit League Player of the Week awards and has won six total this season, while Bigham has also collected three for a total of nine of the 12 weekly accolades. The two freshman guards have led the Golden Eagles in scoring in all but one contest this season. Luper, a native of Adair, Okla., has scored in double figures in all 21 games played this season, including 30-point performances against South Dakota State, Southern Utah and No. 6 Baylor. Luper also set a school record with 12 steals against the Thunderbirds, and currently leads the nation with 4.3 steals per game. Bigham, a McAlester, Okla., product, has scored in double figures in the last 16 contests. Bigham averaged 31.0 points per game when Luper missed two contests at the end of December with an injury. Bigham and Luper combined for 100 points this past weekend against South Dakota State and North Dakota State. Bigham currently ranks third all-time at ORU for a single season with 72 3-pointers, while Luper ranks fifth for a single season with 91 steals.

Pyle’n On

Sophomore forward Jordan Pyle currently leads the team and Summit League in field goal percentage (62 percent) and offensive rebounds (76), while ranking second on the squad in rebounds per game (7.1). Pyle is also one of four ORU starters averaging double-figure points per game (11.4). Pyle has scored in double figures 15 times this season, while also posting four double-doubles on the year. Pyle has averaged 14.4 points while going 30-of-40 from the field in ORU’s last five Summit League victories. Pyle secured her first double-double of the 2009-10 campaign in the season-opening win over UT-Pan American with a career-high 22 points and 10 rebounds. Pyle posted perfect performances from the field against UMKC on Dec. 7 and at IUPUI on Jan. 18. Pyle has also posted her first-career 3-pointers this season, going 7-of-18.

Record Watch

Senior Janae Voelker continues to climb the career charts at ORU, while freshmen Jaci Bigham and Kevi Luper have started their assault on the single-season marks. Voelker ranks third with 876 career rebounds and 10th with 1,299 points, needing seven more to slide into ninth spot. Voelker also ranks ninth all-time with 188 steals and 10th with 479 made field goals. Luper currently ranks fifth for a single season with 91 steals, and needs 24 more to set a new ORU record. Bigham already ranks third for a single season with 72 3-pointers, while needing eight more assists to move into the 10th spot.

Scrappy Defense

ORU has not only put together a high-powered offense this season, but also employs a swarming defense, leading the nation in steals (15.3 per game) and ranking 11th in turnover margin (+6.2). The Golden Eagles have forced 30 or more turnovers in four of the last five games and eight total contests this season, including a season-high 41 at Houston Baptist on Nov. 28. In ORU’s 86-75 win over South Dakota State on Jan. 30, the Golden Eagles forced 33 turnovers, which was the most for a Jackrabbit team since Nov. 11, 2001. Freshman Kevi Luper leads the country with 4.3 steals per game and needs only 24 more steals to set a new school record. Senior Janae Voelker ranks second on the team with 64 steals, and has posted five or more steals in four of the last five games, including a career-high eight against South Dakota State on Jan. 30.

ORU Versus the Summit League

The Golden Eagles are in sole possession of first place in the Summit League standings with a 10-2 record, averaging 85.3 points to their opponents’ 69.1 points per game. ORU knocked down 35 3-pointers in its first two league games against Southern Utah and UMKC, and handed South Dakota State its first-ever conference loss at home. After a loss to IPFW on Jan. 9, the Golden Eagles have won seven consecutive conference games. Four starters for ORU are currently leading the league in at least one category. Kevi Luper is averaging a league-best 35.7 minutes, while posting 25.0 points and 4.3 steals per game. Jaci Bigham is first in 3-point percentage (.434) and assists per game (5.3). Janae Voelker tops the league in defensive rebounds (155) and ranks second with 8.4 rebounds per game. Jordan Pyle paces the conference in field-goal percentage (.616) and offensive rebounds (76). Since joining the conference prior to the 1997-98 season, ORU is 113-91 (.554) in regular-season play, 18-7 (.720) in tournament action and 131-98 (.572) overall.

ORU Basketball Coaches Hour

Join ORU coaches and athletes every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. for the ORU Coaches Hour, broadcast live from Pepper’s Grill at 91st & Delaware and carried on FM 97.1 “The Sports Animal”. Tulsa radio personality Geoff Haxton hosts the one-hour call-in show. Men’s head coach Scott Sutton and women’s head coach Jerry Finkbeiner are regular guests.

Finkbeiner to Appear Weekly on 97.1 FM The Sports Animal Tulsa

Head coach Jerry Finkbeiner will make a special appearance on 97.1 FM The Sports Animal every Monday morning at 9:45 a.m. for the remainder of the season. Finkbeiner will join host Kevin Ward in the “Animal Fodder” section of the morning show.

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