Balanced Scoring Leads ORU Past Demons, 66-55
With the win, ORU improves to 5-8 (2-1 Southland Conference). The victory is ORU’s fourth straight win in a home conference opener.
Taylor Cooper and Kevi Luper led the Golden Eagles with 16 points each, while Christian Key tallied 15 and Sarah Shelton added 11. Bigham led the Golden Eagles with seven rebounds in addition to her 10 helpers.
Northwestern State (5-9, 1-3 SLC) was led by Jasmine Bradley, who scored 15 points.
ORU shot 48.2% from the floor and committed just nine turnovers in perhaps their most well-executed game of the season. The Lady Demons shot at a 46.8% clip.
ORU came out on fire, dominating the first five minutes of the game. Back-to-back baskets from Bernadett Balla, with the last one coming on a Bigham assist, gave the home team a 14-3 lead at the 14:46 mark.
But the Lady Demons stayed in the game and took advantage of a cold streak from ORU. Northwestern State closed the second half on an 8-3 run, cutting the lead to 31-29 on two Bradley free throws right before halftime.
Misti Cussen’s crew retook control of the game with an 11-0 run early in the second half. Luper supplied three baskets during the run, including a running jumper to cap the rally off with ORU winning, 49-35, at the 13:54 mark.
ORU’s largest lead of the game came with 3:02 left, when a pair of Luper free throws made the score 64-48. The Golden Eagles led by double-digits for the game’s final 14:48.
The victory is ORU’s first against Northwestern State, who earned victories over the Golden Eagles in neutral site games in 1992 and 1994.
Bigham’s 10-assist night came on the heels of 11 assists in the SLC opener against Southeastern Louisiana on January 3 and 10 helpers against Nicholls State two nights later. The three-game streak of double-digit assists is a career high for the senior.
Key’s 15-point night is a career high for the junior against an NCAA Division I opponent. The Tulsa native was 3-for-5 from three-point range and played a career-best 37 minutes.
The Golden Eagles continue their two-game home stand when they host Stephen F. Austin on Saturday, January 12 at the Mabee Center. Tip time is booked for 5 pm CT.