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ORU Faces Missouri State in Mid-Major Battle

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 11/27/2012
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TULSA, Okla. - Oral Roberts University gets back to action on Thursday, November 29, when they resume their annual rivalry with Missouri State University. Tipoff at the JQH Arena in Springfield, Mo., is scheduled for 7 pm CT.

Live video is available through MissouriStateBears.com, while a live radio broadcast will air on KYAL-AM 1550 and ORUGoldenEagles.com. Pregame coverage begins at 6:45 pm CT.

Oral Roberts is 2-2 after suffering a 79-47 loss to UALR on Wednesday, November 21. ORU led the game, 6-4, before the Trojans ended the 1st half by outscoring the Golden Eagles, 47-12, in the final 17:39 of the period.

Taylor Cooper scored a dozen points in the second half and led the Golden Eagles with 14 points and nine rebounds, nearly tallying her first collegiate double-double. Kevi Luper scored 12 points in the loss, while Jaci Bigham scored 10 points and added five assists.

The Golden Eagles shot just 34.0% (18-for-53) from the floor, failing to hit the 40% mark for the second game in a row. Since the start of the 2011-12 season, ORU is just 3-10 when shooting less than 40%.

Taylor Gault was on fire against the Golden Eagles, scoring a game-high 31 points. The junior also grabbed six rebounds and two steals. She was 12-for-23 from the floor and 5-for-8 from three-point range, with 25 of her points coming in the first half.

As a team, the Golden Eagles pilfered just one steal in the loss to UALR after not collecting a steal against Arkansas two days earlier. ORU led the nation in steals, at 14.4 per game, one season ago.

The Bears enter Thursday’s battle on a two-game winning streak, at 3-2 overall. They are ranked 14th in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll.

Missouri State downed UC Santa Barbara in their last game, 68-61, on November 22 and took down UCF, 83-75, a day earlier. Both games were part of the Hardwood Tournament of Hope in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Senior Christiana Shorter led the Bears with 24 points in the win over UCF and averages a team-best 17.3 points per game. Whitney Edie has come off the bench in three of Missouri State’s five games but still averages 15.4 points and a team-best 9.2 rebounds per game.

Missouri State went 24-9 last season and advanced to the third round of the WNIT after collecting postseason victories over UMKC and Memphis. The Bears were beaten by eventual champion Oklahoma State in the Round of 16, 70-57.

After winning the MVC regular season title last season, at 14-4, the Bears were picked 5th in the 2012-13 Preseason MVC Poll. Shorter was a Preseason All-MVC selection.

Missouri State Head Coach Nyla Milleson is 94-72 in her sixth season leading the Bears.

ORU Head Coach Misti Cussen is 2-2 in her first season.

Oral Roberts is 8-6 all-time against Missouri State but has lost three of their last four meetings with the Bears.

Missouri State sprinted out to a 51-35 halftime lead and knocked off the Golden Eagles last season at the Mabee Center, 85-79, on November 26, 2011. Shorter led the Bears with 27 points and 10 rebounds, while Luper had 17 points to lead current Golden Eagles.

ORU has won two of their last three trips to Springfield, with victories in 2008 and 2010.

Following the trip to Springfield, ORU will play their final pre-conference home game of the season on Wednesday, December 5, when they host Evangel University. The annual TTCU Best Field Trip Ever game is set to begin at 12 pm CT.
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