ORU Stumbles Late, Falls 73-72 to Missouri State
Luper was 14-for-32 from the floor, 4-for-9 from three-point range and 8-for-8 from the free throw line. She added five steals and four rebounds.
Luper’s 40 points set a new JQH Arena record. The building has housed the Missouri State program since 2008.
Jaci Bigham added 15 points and nine assists, while Savanna Buck added a career-high 14 rebounds.
Luper, Bigham and freshman Taylor Cooper each played the full 45 minutes, setting new career highs.
Missouri State (4-2) was led by Christiana Shorter, who was 10-for-11 from the floor and scored 21 points. Whitney Edie added a double-double, with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Kenzie Williams added 15 points.
The Bears shot 48.3% from the floor, while the Golden Eagles (2-3) shot 37.0%
ORU was sluggish out of the gates, missing 14 of their first 17 shots. The Lady Bears took advantage, scoring seven straight points and building a 13-6 lead with 11:21 left in the opening half.
The Golden Eagles came alive late in the half, using an aggressive zone defensive to turn the Bears over and get back in the game. A long jumper by Bigham capped a 7-0 run, giving Misti Cussen’s club a 26-25 lead at the 2:51 mark.
That lead carried into the halftime break, with the Golden Eagles ahead by a 30-29 count. Luper had 15 points in the first period, and ORU hit 11 of their final 20 shots.
The momentum carried over to the second half, with the Golden Eagle zone forcing seven turnovers in the first 3:10 of the period. That led to a 10-0 run, with a Luper basket stretching the lead to 40-29 at the 16:54 mark.
Missouri State tried to rally, whittling the lead down to three points, but ORU continued to answer. Two free throws from Luper restored the double-digit advantage, at 54-44, with 8:17 remaining.
But the Bears woke up for the game’s final eight minutes, rallying to even the score with a 10-0 run. A Shorter free throw at the 5:50 mark tied the game, at 54-all.
The Golden Eagles had enough in the tank for one more run, starting with a long-range three-ball from Luper. The mammoth basket gave ORU a 57-54 lead and jumpstarted a 7-0 ORU run.
But Missouri State scored the final five points of regulation. A three-pointer from Williams, her first of the night, cut the lead to 65-63, and Edie tied the game with :18 left with a running layup. A buzzer-beater from ORU’s Cooper was left short, and the game went to overtime tied at 65-all.
The teams traded baskets to start the overtime period, but ORU came out ahead. A corner three from Luper gave her 40th point of the night and gave the Golden Eagles a 72-71 lead with 2:45 on the clock.
The Bears scored the final points of the game with 2:33 left. Williams hit an open layup to give Missouri State a 73-72 lead, and neither team scored again. Cooper missed a heavily-contested jumper at the buzzer, sending ORU to their third straight loss.
Missouri State has won four of their last meetings with the Golden Eagles, who still hold an 8-7 advantage in the all-time series.
The 40-point performance was the first for Luper since February 4, 2012, when she scored 41 in an 84-75 win over North Dakota State.
ORU returns to the Mabee Center for their final pre-conference home game of the season on Wednesday, December 5, when they host Evangel University. The annual TTCU Best Field Trip Ever game will begin at 12 pm CT.