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Golden Eagles snap skid, beat Western Illinois 79-55

The ORU women’s basketball team pulled off a dominating 79-55 win against Western Illinois at the Mabee Center Saturday afternoon. The team is 9-6 in conference play and 12-15 overall.

“[We had a] great team effort,” said head coach Misti Cussen. “Five of our eight girls that played today scored in double figures. I love the sharing of the basketball at the offensive end.”

There were five lead changes and three ties halfway through the first quarter, but Maria Martianez, Blair Bryce and Faith Ihim dominated under the basket to give ORU a lead WIU wouldn’t get back.

“I think [our improvement] has to do with the coaching staff having confidence in us, telling us they have our back,” said Ihim. “They trust us with the ball and the plays they put in later on in the season gives the posts more responsibility with the ball and gets the ball from the ball which gives us more confidence.”

Martianez and Ihim led the team today in points and rebounds. Martianez posted 20 points, a season and career high, and nine rebounds. Ihim had 15 points and eight boards.

“I think Maria and Faith have grown by leaps and bounds during the month of February as far as being able to keep the ball in their hands and let things develop.”

The Golden Eagles shot 49.3 percent from the field, outrebounded the Leathernecks 49 to 33 and forced 12 WIU turnovers. The ORU women also boasted nine blocked shots and six steals.

“I think we defended the rim well, we rebounded well,” Cussen said. “[There were] dominating numbers on the boards and it’s really nice to see an almost 50 percent shooting performance from the field.”

Omaha comes to the Mabee Center Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. for the Golden Eagles’ final regular season game as they try to secure their spot in the Summit League tournament.

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