Luper Leads ORU Past Women's Basketball, 81-59

TULSA, Okla. – Ashley Darley scored 27 points, but it was not enough as Oral Roberts posted an 81-59 win over the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi women's basketball team on Saturday at the Mabee Center. Kevi Luper led the way with 26 points for the home squad, as ORU improved to 10-4 and sits in sole possession of first place in the Southland Conference.

Sarah Shelton had a strong game in the post for the Golden Eagles, posting 16 points and seven rebounds. Jaci Bigham added 12 points and nine assists for ORU, while Savannah Buck added 11 points and eight boards.

Brandi Huff notched nine points off the bench, while Trish Amboree added six and Imani Dunn five. The Islanders' bench outscored ORU's 23-17 in the contest. The Islanders were without the services of Jessica Jammer, who left the team during the trip due to a loss in her family.

The Golden Eagles came out blazing from the field, riding the inside-outside combination of Shelton and Luper to a 13-2 lead at the 15:03 mark. The duo combined to go 6-of-7 from the field, with Luper scoring seven points and Shelton six in the early going. The Islanders started ice cold on the offensive end, opening the game 0-for-10 from the field with six turnovers, as the Golden Eagles pushed their lead to 18-4 after Taylor Cooper added five straight points for the home squad.

The Islanders tried to chip away, getting a nice inside layup by Darley and a long two from Janae Blount, but the Golden Eagles continued their tremendous offensive start on the other end. ORU pushed its lead to 30-11 after a Luper three-pointer and got it all the way to 44-16 after two free throws by Bernadette Balla.

The Islanders then rallied, finishing the half on a 10-3 run. Darley provided five points on a pair of free throws and a traditional three-point play, while Huff scored three and Dunn added a nice layup in the closing seconds to finish off the first-half scoring.

After the break, the Islanders continued their solid offensive play, starting 5-for-7 from the field with all five baskets coming in the paint. But Luper continued to carry the Golden Eagles, knocking down a pair of threes and a layup to push the lead to 54-32. The Islanders responded with a 7-0 run, with a Huff layup, a Taryn Gregory and a Dunn three trimming the lead to 15.

The Islanders continued to chip away at the Golden Eagles' lead, getting the deficit as low as 13 after a pair of Darley free throws made it 65-52. But ORU continued to convert at the free-throw line, hitting their final six shots at the stripe. That was enough for the home squad to finish off the victory, their third straight.

The Islanders return to action for a Tuesday doubleheader on Stripes Court at the American Bank Center against Northwestern State. The women's team will tip off at 5 p.m. with the men's game to follow. For tickets, call 825-BALL (2255) or visit the ticket page of GoIslanders.com.