TULSA, Okla. – The fourth quarter plagued Western Illinois (15-13, 9-6) and made the difference as the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (13-15, 8-7) earned the series split 71-60 on Thursday rday (Feb. 27).
"Oral Roberts is a really tough team to beat at home and I thought we defended well enough to win but in the 4th quarter we just had way too many empty possessions," head coach JD Gravina said. "To win on the road you have to do the little things really well and at the end of the day we didn't shoot it well enough from the field or the free-throw line to win on the road."
Western gained a two-point (52-50) lead to end the third behind Olivia Kaufmann's two free throws. The Golden Eagles then responded and opened up the fourth quarter on a 12-3 run.
Carla Flores hit a contested three in the corner to make it 68-60 with two minutes left in the game, but Oral Roberts scored 21, a quarter-high, and limited the Leathernecks to eight points to earn the victory.
Kaufmann led the WIU offense in the first quarter as No. 13 poured in 13 points for a 19-15 advantage.
A back and forth game through the first two quarters, the Leathernecks used the game from behind the arc to maintain a 36-31 into halftime. This season they have recorded 24 games with six or more three-pointers as they ended with nine for the sixth time.
Kaufmann collected her ninth game with 20 points and fourth in league play with two of them against Oral Roberts. The performance moves her into 13th all-time in scoring passing Deirdre LaFrance (1994-97) with 1,205 points.
Evan Zars finished with 12 points and two blocks to total 46 on the season. The forward has recorded a block in every game but six.
The Purple and Gold conclude the regular season at Denver on Saturday (Feb. 29). The season finale, along with the result from the ORU and Purdue Fort Wayne game, will determine the seed for Western Illinois at The Summit League Championships.