- A vastly different Oral Roberts University roster looked perfectly in tune on Friday afternoon as the Golden Eagles routed the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, 89-68, inside of the Mabee Center. Kaylan Mayberry led the Golden Eagles (1-0) with 18 points and six assists in her first collegiate game.
"Some wins make you happier than others, but we accomplished what we wanted to today," said Head Coach Misti Cussen. "This was the one we needed and today's cleanliness was a good affirmation to me that we were well prepared for today's game."
Mayberry was one of four Golden Eagles to finish in double-figures. Christian Key canned five three-pointers and scored 15 points, Sarah Shelton pumped in 14 and Alexus Wilson scored a dozen. As a team, ORU shot 40.9% from the floor.
Key and Shelton were the only two Golden Eagles from last season's Southland Conference championship team to log minutes against USAO.
Shelton added a career-high 16 rebounds in the win, leading the Golden Eagles to a 52-41 rebounding edge. The Ft. Worth native is the first ORU player to collect 15 or more rebounds since the 2010-11 season.
USAO (0-2) was led by Sami Martin's 18 points, but the Drovers shot just 33.3% from the field
Cussen's team was on fire from three-point range in their season-opener, hitting 12 of their 22 attempts, a 54.5% mark. Four different Golden Eagles connected from deep.
ORU came out on fire, scoring the first 14 points of the game. A Mayberry three-pointer with 15:56 left in the half gave the Golden Eagles a 14-0 lead, and a blowout looked to be in the offing.
But USAO did not back down, making things very interesting in the middle stages of the half. A Kylie Parker layup exactly halfway through the period sliced the lead to 20-16.
The Golden Eagles grabbed control of the game for good by scoring the final 11 points of the opening stanza. Jenni Bryan had the final two buckets of the half to give ORU a 47-27 lead at the break.
ORU hit seven of their nine three-point attempts in the opening half, with Key draining five and Mayberry connecting on two. The duo led ORU with 15 and 10 points, respectively.
The home side added the first six points of the 2nd half to put the game further out of reach. Another Mayberry trifecta stretched the advantage to 53-27 with 17:30 left in the game.
ORU's largest leads came at the 13:32 mark, with Carolina Lopez hitting her first field goal to make the score 64-36. The lead remained over 20 points for the remainder of the game.
Nine different players made their ORU debuts, and all 11 active players scored at least two points. Mayberry and Wilson led the newcomers, while Noora Jaervikangas added eight points and Bryan chipped in five points and five assists.
The victory is the 30th in a row in regular season games for the Golden Eagles against non-NCAA Division II competition.
The Golden Eagles face a huge step up in competition in their next game, on Sunday, November 10 against 2013 Sweet 16 participant Kansas. Tipoff at historic Allen Fieldhouse is scheduled for 2 pm, with TV coverage available on ESPN3.