Luper Wins Third Summit Player of the Year Honor
Freshman forward Bernadett Balla also received conference accolades on Thursday, as she was named to the Summit League’s All-Newcomer Team.
Luper, a native of Adair, spent her junior season rewriting the ORU and Summit League record books. The two-time All-American set the conference’s career scoring record in a Feb. 4 victory over North Dakota State, and she broke ORU’s career points and steals records on Feb. 18 in a victory over IPFW.
For the season, Luper leads the Summit League with 23.9 points and 3.9 steals per game. She ranks among the top five players in all of NCAA Division I women’s basketball in both categories.
Luper also ranks in the Summit’s top ten in field goal percentage, free throw percentage, three-point field goal percentage, made three-point field goals and minutes played.
Over the summer, Luper represented Team USA at the Pan American Games in Mexico. She’s the only Summit League representative on the 35-player Naismith Trophy early season watch list, and she was named Preseason Mid-Major Player of the Year by College Sports Madness.
Luper has been named Summit League Player of the Week four times this season, and she has won the award a record 14 times in her career.
Through three seasons, Luper has totaled 2,233 points and 376 steals.
Balla has come on strong in the final two months of her freshman season. The Pecs, Hungary native averages 6.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, and she’s one of just three Golden Eagles to suit up in all 29 games this season.
In her last seven games, Balla has ratcheted her performance up to another level, averaging 11.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. She’s played at least 20 minutes in each of ORU’s last eight games and tallying 20 minutes in just two of the team’s first 21 contests.
Luper and Balla lead an ORU team that posted a 20-9 regular season record, including a 14-4 mark in Summit League play. The Golden Eagles went 4-1 against 2011 NCAA Tournament participants during the regular season and ended the campaign on a five-game winning streak.
Now the second seed in the 2012 Summit League Tournament, ORU will start their postseason journey on Saturday, March 3 when they face seventh-seeded Western Illinois. Tip-off in Sioux Falls, S.D. is scheduled for 2:30 pm.
COMPLETE SUMMIT LEAGUE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL POSTSEASON AWARDS