TULSA, Oklahoma - Oral Roberts University has appointed a new head women's basketball coach in long-time assistant Misti Cussen.

"I am very grateful to Mr. Carter and Dr. Rutland for this opportunity, and I can't wait to begin this new chapter as the head coach at ORU," said Cussen. "I love this University, and I am thrilled to continue coaching at a place where I have spent so many great years. I am also excited to continue working with such an outstanding group of young women, and I look forward to continued success in the future."

Cussen replaces Jerry Finkbeiner who announced earlier this week he was leaving the ORU squad to take the head coaching position at Utah State.

"Misti Cussen is the right coach for this program," said Oral Roberts President Dr. Mark Rutland and Director of Athletics Mike Carter. "She has all the attributes we look for in a coach for our women's basketball team. She is an outstanding recruiter with strong ties in Oklahoma and Texas and has been a vital part of our team for the last 16 years. Misti has demonstrated her ability to lead the program and to build upon the successes that we have enjoyed these past many seasons. We are excited to add Misti to our group of outstanding head coaches at ORU."

Coach Cussen has spent 17 seasons as an assistant for the Golden Eagles women's team, making her one of the nation's longest tenured assistant coaches at one school.

Last season, Cussen served as an assistant as well as the directors of operations and the summer camp director.

As a player, Cussen began her collegiate career at the University of Kansas where she played from 1989-1991 before transferring to Southern Nazarene where she played two seasons. Cussen later joined the SNU staff in the spring of 1996.

An Oklahoma native, Cussen spent her high school days playing at El Reno High School where she was an All State selection, named to the Super Five team, and the FCA Female Athlete of the Year.

Cussen becomes the 10th head coach in ORU women's basketball history.

The Golden Eagles return three starters from last year's WNIT squad, including Jaci Bigham and Kevi Luper, who is the all-time leader in ORU history in both scoring and steals.