The ORU women’s basketball team overcame an 11 point second half deficit to defeat Tulsa 73-71 in the Mayor’s Cup.
I almost cried,” senior Atoe’ Jackson said. “Wanting it and actually having it this year and it being my last year, going out with that feels amazing.”
ORU (1-2) was down 61-50 with 8:47 left to play in the game. The Golden Eagles fought their way back into the game and a Dorka Balla three-pointer gave them the lead with 1:56 to play.
Vicky McIntyre hit a jumper on the following possession to give ORU the lead for good.
“The biggest thing for us tonight was when we hit our lull offensively; it was because we were hitting a lull defensively,” Head Coach Misti Cussen said. “We preach that a lot. We’re a defense wins championships kind of team. Defense got us back into it. Defense got us the lead at the end.”
The win gives ORU both Mayor’s Cup trophies. The men’s team defeated Tulsa last Saturday night, 77-68.
“It’s kind of our northeast Oklahoma Bedlam game,” Cussen said. “We take a lot of pride in it. It’s personal because the girls all know each other and see each other and a lot of times they play open gym against each other in the summertime. It’s that local bragging rights that lasts for one year.”
ORU led by two at the end of the first half, in part because of 13 points by Detti Balla.
“I thought Detti’s first half was one of the best half’s of basketball I’ve ever seen her play,” Cussen said. “Detti has a pace, and when she hits that pace, it’s kind of her golden zone. There’s times that she overworks where it’s a little too hard. I though tonight she was sharp, and she was quick, in the first half.”
The Golden Eagles came out of the locker room flat after a strong first half. ORU had nine fouls and nine turnovers in the first eight minutes of the second half, allowing TU to build the 11 point lead.
“I thought we had a really good 20 minutes of intensity in the first half,” Cussen said. “I thought we had eight to 10 minutes in the first half where TU’s zone put us back on our heels and made us pretty passive.”
“We did a great job taking care of the basketball in the first half and then we fell back into what we did last week with the turnovers.”
ORU was able to work themselves back into the game with nine points by Dorka Balla and six points from Jackson in the final 10 minutes of the game.
Detti Balla finished the game with 19 points, a team high, and seven rebounds.
“Detti hasn’t played her best basketball yet,” Cussen said. “That first half tonight is kind of what I expect from Detti on a regular basis. It’s kind of nice to get both the Balla sisters up and running again.”
McIntyre came one basket and one block short of a triple double. She finished with eight points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks.
Next up for the Golden Eagles is a home game against Missouri State on Monday. Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m.