Golden Eagles Suffer First Loss, Lose Bigham for Season

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:12 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Feb 12, 2011 9:28 PM CDT

Stephany Speck
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

CEDAR CITY, Utah -- The Oral Roberts Golden Eagles suffered two blows to their perfect season Saturday, when the Southern Utah Thunderbirds handed them their first conference loss and starter Jaci Bigham ended her season due to injury.

Bigham, who averaged 13.9 points and 6.1 assists per game, went down with nine minutes left in the game. According to reports, the sophomore guard tore her ACL, which puts an abrupt halt to her season.

The Golden Eagles’ bad luck didn’t stop there as ORU shattered its previously perfect Summit record with the 101-93 loss to an otherwise mediocre team. Southern Utah was just 5-7 in conference play before the eight-point win. Oral Roberts’ loss also broke a 12-game winning streak, which was the fourth-best in the program’s history.

The Golden Eagles tipped off without a regular -- as starting guard Georgia Jones was out for the majority of the game with the flu.

The Thunderbirds jumped out to an early lead, going on an 11-0 run and creating a 17-point lead in the first half. Junior Jordan Pyle tried to keep her team in the game, putting up 14 points in the first half. It was enough spark to drive the team toward regaining the lead. Kevi Luper, who leads the team by averaging 23.8 points per contest, hit a pair of free throws, giving the Golden Eagles a 72-71 lead.

Southern Utah battled back, earning the lead back with just five minutes left to play. They ultimately built a nine-point lead when Desiree Jackson hit a shot from the corner, putting the Thunderbirds ahead 87-78.

While Luper led all scorers with an impressive 29 points, the Golden Eagles faced too many obstacles to overcome against the Thunderbirds. Pyle added 22 points and five rebounds.

The Thunderbirds were led by Jackson, who finished with a career-high 28 points.

The Golden Eagles will look to rebound from the disappointing loss when they travel to Kansas City to face the Kangaroos of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.