Oral Roberts University's rookie class took a giant step forward on Thursday night as they carried the Golden Eagles past New Orleans, 93-62, at the Mabee Center. ORU is now 6-14 (5-5 Southland Conference).
Three of ORU's four double-digit producers on Thursday night came from the freshman class. Noora Jaervikangas led the Golden Eagles with a career-best 21 points, while Kaylan Mayberry added 20 points. Alexus Wilson tallied 11 for ORU, who earned their fourth straight victory at the Mabee Center.
"I really wanted to win and I played as hard as I could tonight," said Jaervikangas after her big night. "This career game was the end result of that effort."
Also in double-figures was senior Christian Key, who scored 13 points. Key, Jaervikangas and Mayberry each accounted for four assists, while Sarah Shelton grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.
Danielle Davis led the Privateers (0-21, 0-10 SLC) with 13 points.
ORU shot 47.8% (32-for-67) for the game and turned the ball over only eight times.
ORU's first half was their biggest of the season, but it took some time for the Golden Eagles to establish a cushion. The teams traded the lead 16 times in the game's first 14 minutes, but the home team finally grabbed control for good on a Tysia Manuel steal-and-score that made it 28-26 at the 7:24 mark.
The basket started a 10-0 run for Misti Cussen's team, and they scored 25 of the half's final 32 points. A Carolina Lopez putback right before the buzzer made it 50-33 at the intermission. The 50-point half was the first of the season for ORU.
Jaervikangas led the Golden Eagles with 11 points at halftime, while Mayberry contributed 10. ORU shot 51.4% in the opening period and forced the Privateers into 10 turnovers.
The lead continued to swell as ORU came out of the locker room with guns blazing. A Key jumper with 18:06 to play gave the home team their first 20-point lead, at 55-35, and a Mayberry three-point play pushed it to 30, at 69-39, with 12:55 on the clock.
The largest lead came with 4:38 left, as Wilson scored on the fast break to make the score 84-49. In the end, the 31-point margin of victory was the largest of the season for the Golden Eagles.
ORU hit the 90-point plateau for the first time this season thanks to a bevy of scoring outbursts. Atoe' Jackson and Bernadett Balla each scored eight points, while Shelton and Manuel each contributed four.