TULSA, Okla. -
Oral Roberts University was a defensive force on Wednesday afternoon and pummeled Evangel University, 96-34, at the Mabee Center. ORU held the Crusaders to 20.9% shooting and forced 30 turnovers in the win.
Kevi Luper led the Golden Eagles (3-3) with 22 points and eight steals, while Jaci Bigham tallied her fifth career double-double with 17 points and 11 assists.
Two Golden Eagles set career highs in the win, with Christian Key scoring 15 points and Sarah Shelton adding 14.
Emily Akins led the Crusaders (2-4) with 18 points.
As a team, the Golden Eagles shot 62.7% from the floor and knocked down 9-of-16 (56.3%) three-pointers, setting a season-high in both categories.
On the defensive end, ORU held an opponent under 35 points for the 10th time in program history and the first time since November 13, 2008, a 48-33 win over Tulsa.
ORU scored the first 18 points of the game to quickly establish their dominance over the Crusaders. A three-pointer by the Crusaders gave Misti Cussen's club an 18-0 lead at the 14:22 mark.
After Evangel finally got on the board, ORU went on a 16-0 run, capped by a Taylor Cooper layup, to build a 34-2 lead with 7:13 left in the half.
The Golden Eagles closed the half on a 7-0 run, as a buzzer-beater from Bigham made the score 46-10 at the halftime whistle.
Cussen's team stretched that run to 23-0, a season-best, by scoring the first 16 points of the second half. A layup from Shelton courtesy of a beautiful Bigham assist stretched the advantage to 62-10 with 16:11 to play.
ORU's largest lead, a 65-point edge, came with 4:16 on the clock as Shelton put in a second-chance basket to make the score 90-25.
Led by Luper's eight thefts, the Golden Eagles forced a season-high 18 steals. Bigham matched a career high with seven steals, and Savanna Buck notched a pair.
Buck also led the Golden Eagles with six rebounds.
The ORU bench, which had struggled to score in the season's first five games, outscored Evangel's reserves by a 34-4 count on Wednesday. Key led the bench production with 15 points, and Emma Gade chipped in seven.
The Golden Eagles face a huge step up in competition when they next take the court, on December 12 at third-ranked Baylor. Tipoff between ORU and the defending national champions is scheduled for 6 pm CT, and television coverage is available on Fox Sports Southwest Plus.