Key's Buzzer-Beater Lifts ORU Past Southeastern, 81-78
The Golden Eagles led by as many as 23 points in the 1st half but were even at 78-all when Key inbounded the ball 70 feet from the basket with 4.9 seconds left. Kaylan Mayberry drove to the basket and kicked the ball back to Key, who drained the game-winning shot with a hand in her face. The buzzer-beater was the first of Key’s collegiate career.
"I hadn't hit a three in what feels like forever, and I knew we didn’t have a lot of time," Key said about her heroic shot. "(Kaylan) hit me and I just threw it up and it went in. That was kind of awesome."
With the win, ORU is now 7-14 (6-5 Southland Conference) and has won five straight games at the Mabee Center.
ORU had not won a game in the final three seconds since December 1, 2010, when Jaci Bigham scored in the waning moments to lead the Golden Eagles past Western Illinois, 68-66.
Mayberry led the Golden Eagles with 21 points, while Key finished with 17. The 8th-leading three-point shooter in ORU history, Key’s game-winner was the 135th trifecta of her career, but her first of the game.
Atoe' Jackson and Noora Jaervikangas each scored 11 points for ORU. The Golden Eagles shot 50.0% (34-for-68) from the floor, a season best.
Southeastern (6-15, 5-5 Southland Conference) put five players in double-figures, led by Elizabeth Styles with 19 points. Symone Miller added 15, Aja Gibson scored 14, Nanna Pool chipped in 13 and Erica Hernandez had 11 for the Lady Lions, who are now 0-3 all-time against ORU.
The visitors clawed their way back into the game thanks in large part to a massive free throw disparity. ORU was whistled for 24 fouls, while SLU was called for 11. That led to 33 Southeastern free throws, while ORU shot just two, which ties a program record for fewest foul shots in a game.
Thankfully for the Golden Eagles, SLU shot just 63.6% from the stripe, as they connected on only 21 of their attempts.
ORU dominated the game early, scoring 12 of the contest’s first 13 points. A Jackson jumper made it 12-1, ORU, less than five minutes into the game.
The Golden Eagles kept pouring it on, soon pushing the lead over 20. Mayberry drained a three-pointer with 10:54 left in the half, raising the lead to its high watermark, at 35-12.
But the Lady Lions did not retreat. Led by four straight baskets from Styles, the visitors scored the final 11 points of the opening half, and they trailed just 44-34 at the break.
Things grew tense midway through the 2nd half. SLU scored 10 straight points, capped by a pair of Gibson free throws, to slice the lead down to 56-51 with 9:19 on the clock.
The visitors came all the way back to tie the game with 3:35 to play after Miller hit two free throws to make the score 70-70. Miller drained two more from the line on the next possession to give SLU their first lead of the game, at 72-70.
The outcome looked bleak when Gibson scored a layup with 1:10 left to give Southeastern their largest lead of the game, at 78-74. But Key would not be denied. The senior scored the final seven points of the game, including a tying jumper with :23 left. SLU got the ball back with the shot clock off, but Styles gave it back with a turnover with 9.1 seconds left. The Lions had a foul to give, which they used with 4.9 seconds remaining, but that set the stage for Key’s miracle winner.
ORU controlled the glass, winning 40 rebounds to Southeastern’s 34. Sarah Shelton led the way with 14 boards, and Jackson had seven.
In addition to her 17 points, Key set a career high with eight assists. Shelton also netted a personal best, with seven blocked shots.
ORU will try to capitalize on their momentum on Thursday, February 13, when they face Houston Baptist. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 pm CT in Houston, Texas.