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Luper Earns Second-Straight Player of the Year Award

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 03/03/2011
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Oral Roberts’ Kevi Luper captured her second-straight Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards it was announced by the league Thursday in voting by the league’s 10 head coaches, sports information directors and select media members.

Western Illinois’ Sadie Webb captured Newcomer of the Year honors, while Oral Roberts’ Savanna Buck was named Sixth Woman of the Year and ORU’s Jerry Finkbeiner earned his second straight Coach of the Year award.

Luper claims her second straight Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards after leading the league and the NCAA in both points and steals per game. Luper is the first repeat winner of both awards since Western Illinois’ Zane Teilane did so in 2004-05 and 2005-06. The sophomore is averaging 24.0 points per game heading into the tournament and collects an average of 3.8 steals per contest. If her national rankings hold through the end of the season, it will be the first time in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history the same player has led the nation in both points and steals. Luper also ranks in the league’s top 10 in three-point field goals made per game (3rd, 1.9), free throw percentage (4th, .844), three-point field goal percentage (4th, .392), minutes played per outing (5th, 34.8) and field goal percentage (10th, .461). She surpassed the 1,000-point total for her career in a New Year’s Eve matchup with Oakland and currently has 1,452 career points, ranking 20th in Summit League history. Her 250 career steals is ranked eighth in league history.

Webb earns Newcomer of the Year honors after transferring to Western Illinois this season. She is averaging 13.9 points this year in league games and is hitting 81 percent of her free throws in league action, which is ranked eighth. The junior is also averaging 5.6 rebounds per contest and is tops on her squad in both scoring and rebounding.

Buck garners the Sixth Woman of the Year award after averaging 9.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in league contests for the Golden Eagles. The sophomore forward came off the ORU bench in 14-of-18 league games and hit 45 percent (58-of-128) of her shots from the field.
Finkbeiner earns his second consecutive Coach of the Year award after guiding Oral Roberts to a 20-9 record and 16-2 league mark. It was the Golden Eagles’ second straight regular season title and second time in as many years reaching the 20-win plateau.

Joining Luper as a first team All-Summit selection is teammate Jaci Bigham, who finished first in the league in assists with 7.1 per league game was second in steals (3.2) and ninth in scoring (14.3), to earn first team honors for the second straight season. After placing on the second team a year ago, SUU’s Challis Pascucci earns first team honors after collecting four Player of the Week awards and ranking in the league’s top three in scoring (17.7 ppg) and rebounding (9.8 rpg). In league games, NDSU’s Abby Plucker was first in rebounds (10.3 rpg) and second in points (19.7 ppg), while IPFW’s Stephanie Rosado was sixth in both categories (16.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg). OU’s Bethany Watterworth is named to the first team after ranking fourth in the league in scoring with 17.2 ppg in league contests.

Comprising the second team is SDSU’s Kristin Rotert (14.0 ppg, .470 3FG%) and Jennie Sunnarborg (14.3 ppg, 1.1 bpg), ORU’s Jordan Pyle (16.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg), SUU’s Caitlyn Sears (14.8 ppg, .735 FT%) and IPFW’s Jordan Zuppe (10.4 ppg, 4.8 apg).

Receiving honorable mention honors are Centenary’s Ashley Jackson (13.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg), IPFW’s Anne Boese (11.6 ppg, 2.8 3FG/game), IUPUI’s Kerah Nelson (13.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg), OU’s Sharise Calhoun (13.2 ppg, 2.6 apg) and SDSU’s Jill Young (12.1 ppg, .438 3FG%).

IPFW’s Kayla Drake, UMKC’s Eilise O’Connor, OU’s Zakiya Minifee and SUU’s Desiree Jackson join Webb on the all-newcomer team.

The Summit League Tournament begins March 5 at the Sioux Falls Arena in Sioux Falls, S.D., and culminates with the title game on Tuesday, March 8 on ESPNU at 3 p.m. (CT).

2011 SUMMIT LEAGUE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL AWARDS

First Team
Jaci Bigham, Oral Roberts
Kevi Luper, Oral Roberts
Challis Pascucci, Southern Utah
Abby Plucker, North Dakota State
Stephanie Rosado, IPFW
Bethany Watterworth, Oakland

Second Team
Jordan Pyle, Oral Roberts
Kristin Rotert, South Dakota State
Caitlyn Sears, Southern Utah
Jennie Sunnarborg, South Dakota State
Jordan Zuppe, IPFW

Honorable Mention
Anne Boese, IPFW
Sharise Calhoun, Oakland
Ashley Jackson, Centenary
Kerah Nelson, IUPUI
Jill Young, South Dakota State

All-Newcomer Team
Kayla Drake, IPFW
Desiree Jackson, Southern Utah
Zakiya Minifee, Oakland
Eilise O’Connor, UMKC
Sadie Webb, Western Illinois

Player of the Year
Kevi Luper, Oral Roberts

Newcomer of the Year
Sadie Webb, Western Illinois

Sixth Woman of the Year
Savanna Buck, Oral Roberts

Defensive Player of the Year
Kevi Luper, Oral Roberts

Coach of the Year
Jerry Finkbeiner, Oral Roberts

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