ORU Women to Face Wichita State in WNIT First Round
Via ORU Athletics (www.GoldenEagles.com)
Oral Roberts University will face Wichita State University in the first round of the 2012 Women's National Invitation Tournament, it was announced late Tuesday night. The Golden Eagles and Shockers will square off on Friday, March 16 at Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kan.
Friday's game will tip off at 7:05 pm CT. Radio coverage will be available on KYAL-AM 1550 in Tulsa and around the world at ORUAthletics.com.
Oral Roberts (20-10, 14-4 Summit League) is eager to continue their season after an 83-71 loss to Western Illinois in the opening round of the Summit League Tournament on March 3. The Golden Eagles fell behind by 22 points at the halftime break and could not rally, dropping their conference tournament opener for the first time since 2009.
Junior Kevi Luper scored 27 points in the loss to WIU. The Adair product was named Summit League Player of the Year for the third time after setting the League's career scoring record on Feb. 4. She was also named a Second Team Mid-Major All-American by College Sports Madness.
Luper currently ranks fourth in the nation in scoring, at 24.0 points per game, and she also ranks fourth in the country with 3.8 steals per game.
Wichita State (19-12, 12-6 Missouri Valley Conference) finished third in MVC play this season and fell to Drake in the semifinals of the MVC Tournament, 56-52, on March 10.
Junior Jessica Diamond leads the Shockers in scoring, at 13.2 points per game, and she was a First Team All-MVC this season.
Senior Haleigh Lankster, a Tulsa native, was named Second Team All-MVC and MVC Defensive Player of the Year after putting up 12.1 points and 2.5 steals per game in 2011-12.
A victory by WSU would match a program record for victories in a season.
ORU clinched an automatic berth into the WNIT by virtue of their second place finish in the Summit League.
The Golden Eagles are making their third consecutive WNIT appearance. They were eliminated in the first round by Missouri State in 2010, and they beat TCU and Tulane in the 2011 edition of the event before falling to Arkansas in the third round.
ORU also participated in the 1983 WNIT and posted a win over Hawaii in the first round, a loss to Memphis in the semifinals and a victory over Weber State in the third place game.
The Shockers fell to Kansas in the first round of the 2011 WNIT, their first appearance since 2000.
ORU is 11-8 all-time against Wichita State. The Golden Eagles have won five straight meetings with the Shockers, including an 89-76 victory on November 18, 2008.
The winner of Friday night's game will face the winner of Friday's first round game between Central Arkansas and Oklahoma State in a second round contest, which would take place on either Sunday, March 18 or Monday, March 19 at a location to be determined.