Oral Roberts IUPUI Basketball

Oral Roberts guard Rachael Watman cuts down the net in celebration after the team's 66-53 victory over IUPUI in the Summit League conference tournament women's basketball championship, Tuesday March, 11, 2008, at the UMAC center in Tulsa, Okla. Watman scored 23 points in the game. (AP Photo/Mel Root)

TULSA (AP) — With a flurry of 3-pointers from Rachel Watman, Oral Roberts will make a repeat appearance at the NCAA tournament for the first time.

Watman made all four of her 3-point attempts in the second half and scored 23 points as the Golden Eagles beat IUPUI 66-53 Tuesday to win their second straight Summit League championship.

After being picked as the preseason favorites, Oral Roberts had to rally back from a sixth-place finish and the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament.

“We had all the expectations in the world when the season started to win the league and the tournament both,” said coach Jerry Finkbeiner, who at times during the season was without leading scorer Jenny Hardin (foot) and key reserve Leanne Robison (shin splints). “I think the combination of things that happened within our team and to our team, we underachieved. A couple of times and a couple of games, we fell flat.

“In the end, it’s very satisfying because we’ve literally done a 180-degree turn.”

Oral Roberts (19-13) hit five consecutive 3-pointers in the second half to break open a one-point game.

Watman started the hot shooting stretch with a 3-pointer from the left wing that put Oral Roberts up 38-34, and Janae Voelker hit two more 3s before Watman connected again from the right wing. Robison, who came in when Voelker picked up her fourth foul, then got into the action with a 3-pointer from the right wing that extended the Golden Eagles’ edge to 53-42.

After a miss by Mariana Camargo stopped Oral Roberts’ 3-point run, Watman bracketed two more 3-pointers around a pair of free throws from Demesha Heard. Her score from the top of the key put the lead at 61-46 with 5:52 to play.

“We hit those shots that we weren’t hitting in the first half, and we really came together as a team today,” said Watman, who matched her career-high with the four 3-pointers.

Tthe Golden Eagles also clamped down on Julia Whitted, the 6-foot-5 center who paced the Jaguars (17-16) with 42 points, 30 rebounds and 11 blocks in their first two tournament games.

Whitted ended up with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

React to this story:


Recommended for you