ORU Falls to Incarnate Word, 67-64
Christian Key led ORU with 20 points, and Alexus Wilson scored 14. The Golden Eagles led by 14 points in the 1st half and had a 40-35 lead at halftime, but they scored just 24 points in the 2nd half.
Katie Novak led UIW (8-8, 2-2 SLC) with 18 points and Rose Whitehead added 13. Ifunanya Mora chipped in a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Cardinals won the game with their ability to get to the free throw line. ORU was whistled for 30 fouls to UIW’s 15. The Cardinals were 28-for-33 (84.8%) from the free throw stripe, and ORU finished 11-for-13 (84.6%).
ORU took control of the game midway through the 1st half, scoring seven straight points. A Dorottya Balla jumper capped the run and gave the Golden Eagles a 27-13 lead with 8:42 to play.
But ORU was whistled for 13 fouls in the opening period, and the foul trouble caught up to the Golden Eagles late in the half. Incarnate Word scored 14 points from the line in the 1st half, and they gradually whittled the lead down to 40-35 at halftime.
Key was 6-for-6 from the floor in the 1st half, with 16 points. ORU shot 45.2% from the floor and was 7-for-7 from the free throw stripe. But UIW shot 52.9% in the first stanza and was 14-for-15 (93.3%) from the line.
The Golden Eagles led for more than 19 minutes before UIW clawed back to tie the game. Whitehead tied the game at 41-all with a pair of free throws at the 16:21 mark, resetting the contest.
ORU regained control with a 6-0 run. Wilson punctuated the rally with two straight field goals, including a nifty putback to give the Golden Eagles a 51-45 lead with 11:25 left.
ORU’s foul issues eventually helped Incarnate Word regain the lead. Two more Whitehead free throws gave UIW a 55-53 edge with 7:47 to play, and the lead grew to 58-53 on a Novak three-pointer less than a minute later.
The Golden Eagles snapped a five-minute scoreless streak with two Wilson free throws at the 5:36 mark, cutting the deficit to 58-55, and they tied the game a minute later on a Kaylan Mayberry steal-and-score.
ORU evened the score three more times but never could take the lead. Whitehead gave UIW the lead for good at 65-64 on a free throw with :14 left, and ORU turned it over on the next possession. The Cardinals hit two more free throws, and ORU again turned it over on the next trip to lose by three points.
The Golden Eagles return home on Thursday, January 23 to host Stephen F. Austin. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 pm CT and tickets are available by calling 495-7ORU.