MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

March 17, 2013

Tulsa, ORU lay claim to league crowns


Phoenix wire reports

— TULSA — Taleya Mayberry had 25 points, eight rebounds and four steals as Tulsa defeated Central Florida 75-66 Saturday in the championship game of the Conference USA tournament.

“She was not willing to let this be her last game,” said Tulsa coach Matilda Mossman. “UCF did a great job and played their hearts out. There was just one difference in this game and that was we had Taleya Mayberry and they did not.”

The sixth-seeded Golden Hurricane (17-16) earned their second berth in the NCAA tournament (the other came in 2006) and pushed their record over .500 for the first time this season. Tulsa has won 10 of its past 13 games, including four straight in the tournament.

Neither team led by more than three until Mayberry came up with steals and layups on consecutive possessions to give Tulsa a 28-23 lead. She scored again on a rebound and another full-court drive to give Tulsa a 34-27 lead and the Hurricane maintained that advantage to lead 41-34 at the break.

Gevenia Carter led eighth-seeded Central Florida (16-18) with 22 points, including a jumper that pulled the Knights within 70-66 with 2:02 left. But it turned out to be UCF’s final basket. Brihanna Jackson added 16 points.



ORU wins

Southland


KATY, Texas  —  Kevi Luper scored 26 points, and Oral Roberts secured its first tournament berth since 2008 with a 72-66 win over Sam Houston State in the Southland Conference women’s championship game on Saturday.

Jaci Bigham had 17 points and five assists for the Golden Eagles (18-12), who went 28 for 33 from the free-throw line and took advantage of 20 turnovers by the Bearkats. Oral Roberts and first-year coach Misti Cussen finished their first season in the Southland with the school’s sixth conference tournament championship.

To win the championship, Oral Roberts had to beat the team it tied for the regular-season title. The championship game was close all the way, with the lead changing hands 10 times.

“It’s been a very tough journey,” said Luper, named the tournament’s most valuable player. “We’ve learned a lot of lessons, and we’ve learned them the hard way. But it made our team who we are today, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

To win the championship, Oral Roberts had to beat the team it tied for the regular-season title. The championship game was close all the way, with the lead changing hands 10 times.

Sequeena Thomas scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Bearkats (18-14), who fell one win short of earning their first NCAA tournament berth.