ORU to Face Tennessee in NCAA Tournament First Round

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
Release: 03/18/2013

Oral Roberts University will face the University of Tennessee on Saturday, March 23 in the First Round of the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship. Tipoff at Thompson-Boiling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn., is scheduled for 12:30 pm CT.

The Golden Eagles will enter the tournament as the 15-seed in the Oklahoma City Regional, while Tennessee is seeded 2nd.

Saturday's game will be televised on ESPN2 and will be available on the WatchESPN app. Radio coverage is available on KYAL-AM 1550 in Tulsa and around the world at ORUAthletics.com.

Oral Roberts (18-12) earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament after winning the Southland Conference Tournament last week in Katy, Texas. ORU knocked off defending champion McNeese State in the semifinal game, 79-66, and punched their tournament ticket with a 72-66 victory over Sam Houston State in the title game.

Kevi Luper scored 26 points in the Championship Game to earn Tournament MVP honors, while fellow senior Jaci Bigham scored 17 points in both games to earn a spot on the All-Tournament Team.

Luper leads the Golden Eagles with 19.0 points per game, while Bigham averages a team-high 6.9 assists.

Saturday's game will mark the sixth NCAA Tournament appearance for the Golden Eagles. ORU advanced to the tournament in 1999, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 after winning the Mid-Continent Conference title.

ORU's closest brush with a First Round upset came in 2001, when the 15th-seeded Golden Eagles led in the final five minutes before falling to 2nd-seeded Oklahoma, 70-64.

Tennessee (24-7) won the Southeastern Conference regular season championship but was knocked off by Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament semifinals, 66-62. SEC Co-Player of the Year Meighan Simmons leads the Lady Vols with 17.5 points per game.

ORU faced Tennessee in the opening round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament, losing a 94-55 decision in West Lafayette, Ind. The Lady Vols went on the capture their second consecutive National Championship.

The winner of Saturday's game will face either 7th-seeded Syracuse or 10th-seeded Creighton in Monday's Second Round, with tipoff scheduled for 6 pm CT.