Sioux Falls, SD—The Oral Roberts conference tournament run came to a premature end Monday afternoon, as the number one seeded Golden Eagles dropped a 96-62 decision to the number 4 Oakland Golden Grizzlies in the semifinals held in Sioux Falls Arena.
Kevi Luper was the high scorer for ORU, finishing with 24 points and seven rebounds, while shooting 4-7 from beyond the arc.
The opening half proved to be a dog fight for an ORU squad that fell behind by nine early on and trailed 47-34 at intermission. Oakland forced 11 Golden Eagle turnovers in the opening stanza, scoring 11 points off of the miscues.
The Grizzlies kept the pressure on to open the final 20 minutes, nailing jumper after jumper and moving the lead to 19 (53-34) on a Kirstie Malone fastbreak layup with 18:09 showing.
Nothing came easy for a normally potent ORU offense that was held to just eight points in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
On the other end of the floor, Oakland held every ounce of momentum and eventually increased the lead to 35 (77-42) by the six minute mark.
Back-to-back threes by Priscila Cergol and Luper cut the margin back to 28 with three minutes left, but it proved to be too little too late, as the high-scoring Grizzlies thwarted ORU’s chance at a second-straight conference finals appearance.
Dominique Allen fell one rebound short of a double-double, posting 11 points and nine boards, while tacked on 11 points and four assists in the loss.
Four players logged double-digit scoring for the red-hot Oakland squad, led by Bethany Watterworth who chipped in 18 and grabbed seven rebounds.
As a team, ORU was only able to force nine Grizzly turnovers, while giving up 16 of their own.
With the loss, ORU falls to 20-11 on the year, but still holds an automatic bid to the WNIT. Tournament pairings will be announced on March 14.