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Golden Eagles Host USAO to Open 2013-14

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 11/06/2013
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TULSA, Okla. - Oral Roberts University opens the 2013-14 women’s basketball season on Friday, November 8, 2013 against the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Tipoff at the Mabee Center is scheduled for 12 pm CT.

The game coincides with ORU’s annual TTCU Best Field Trip Ever promotion, which regularly produces the highest attendance on the ORU home women’s basketball schedule. Over 4,000 area elementary and middle school students are expected to attend this season’s Field Trip game.

A live video stream of Friday’s game is available to ELIve subscribers at ORUGoldenEagles.com, while live radio coverage is free of charge on KYAL-AM 1550 in Tulsa and around the world at ORUGoldenEagles.com. Coverage begins at 11:45 am CT.

ORU went 18-13 in 2012-13 and captured the Southland Conference's regular season and tournament championships in Head Coach Misti Cussen's first season at the helm. But the 2013-14 roster is a vastly different lot, with only three returning letter winners mixing with 10 newcomers.

Cussen will lean heavily on seniors Christian Key and Sarah Shelton, both of whom had breakout seasons a year ago. Shelton averaged 8.8 points and a team-high 5.6 rebounds per game last season, when she was an honorable mention All-Southland Conference selection. Key, meanwhile, averaged 7.4 points per game as a junior and set an ORU program record by connecting on 47.5% of her three-point attempts.

A third returning letter winner, junior Bernadett Balla, is sidelined until mid-December with a broken foot suffered in preseason workouts. Balla averaged 5.1 points per game as a sophomore.

USAO was 10-19 last season, with a 1-15 record in Sooner Athletic Conference play. The Drovers return just four letter winners from their 2012-13 club. Junior guard Paige Pulliam averaged 7.4 points per game last year, tops among returners.

Oral Roberts and USAO have split their two previous meetings, although the clubs have not faced off in almost 27 years. The Drovers won the first matchup between the teams, 72-59, on February 7, 1976, while ORU won the rematch in the Mabee Center, 82-70, on December 15, 1986.

A win on Friday would extend ORU’s winning streak in regular season contests vs. non-NCAA Division I opponents to 30 games. The streak dates back to a 66-63 loss to East Texas Baptist on February 7, 1994. ORU has never lost a regular season meeting with a non-DI opponent since Cussen joined the ORU staff in 1996.

Cussen is 18-13 in her second season leading the Golden Eagles, while USAO's Jennifer Hayden is 10-19 with the Drovers and 36-105 in five seasons overall.

Oral Roberts has a quick turnaround before their next test, on Sunday, November 10 against Kansas. Tipoff at historic Allen Fieldhouse is scheduled for 2 pm, with TV coverage available on ESPN3.
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