Recapping session one of the Summit League tournament

Marcus Traxler

Marcus TraxlerAssistant Sports Editor

Hanging a hundred … and then some

To say that the Oral Roberts women got off to a good start would be selling their effort short.

The Golden Eagles opened up their appearance in Sioux Falls by scoring 18 of the game’s first 19 points, on the way a 108-79 win over Western Illinois in the Saturday’s first round action. The mark sets a new women’s record for points in a tournament game.

“I was really happy with how our girls came out and forced the tempo. We really pushed the ball and played with reckless abandon on the defensive end,” Oral Roberts head coach Jerry Finkbeiner said.

ORU found a liking to the three-point line as well, draining 12 longball attempts and helping themselves to a 60-32 halftime lead. ORU had some of their better players on the floor with under five minutes left but Finkbeiner said that’s the only way his team knows how to play.

“We don’t know how to play man-to-man defense and you can tell we don’t know how to play a 2-3 zone. I want to be respectful of the game but the same time we’re trying to iron some things out that were pretty traumatic two-and-a-half weeks ago. That’s just who we are. I wish we could press for 40 minutes and we pulled that off with 15 minutes to go, so I don’t know what else we can do.

“The way they are playing right now, I don’t see anyone who can beat them,” WIU head coach Leslie Crane.

When asked if she took exception to ORU’s style of play, Crane answered with a simple and short answer: “No.”

Bigham Plays

Make of it what you want, but ORU’s Jaci Bigham was in at the end of Saturday’s first round game.

Bigham hurt her right knee three weeks ago at Southern Utah and was thought to be out for the season. However, Golden Eagles head coach Jerry Finkbeiner never ruled her out. She officially recorded two minutes, a turnover and a missed shot.

“She’s part of our team. Just having her on the court is a positive for us,” said ORU guard Priscila Cergol, who has filled in since Bigham went out. Cergol had 20 points in the win.

What Break?

Apparently, enough was enough.

The seventh-seeded UMKC Kangaroos had IPFW on the ropes for much of the first half until a 14-0 of run put the Mastodons ahead for good in a 68-53 win during Saturday’s quarterfinals.

The Mastodons strung together 14 straight points before Eilise O’Connor drained a jumper at the end of the first half. IPFW went from being down 24-19 with 5:36 left, to building a seven-point advantage at halftime, 33-26.

“It was huge. Our goal is always to take a lead to halftime because mentally there’s something about having a lead after 20 minutes. It was just crucial to have that advantage at halftime,” said IPFW head coach Chris Paul.

It was probably a good idea for IPFW to jump in front before intermission because the Mastodons are 18-2 this season when leading at halftime. On the other hand, UMKC finishes the season with a 0-16 record when trailing at the break.

Saturday’s win marks IPFW’s first trip to the Summit League Tourney semifinals in school history.