Oral Roberts Golden Eagles
Overall Rank: #38
Conference Rank: #1 Summit
Oral Roberts Team Page
The Golden Eagles come into 2011-12 with high expectations coming off a deep WNIT run with plenty of veteran experience to build off of and their Summit League Regular Season Conference Championship. The high octane offense, led by Kevi Luper and Jaci Bingham and company, averaged nearly 90 points a game in conference play and just less than 85 points a game overall last season. So they will come off the bus and come at you in waves over and over again until they wear their opponents down. This year projects to be more of the same with a trip to NCAA Tournament a very strong likelihood. Oral Roberts could be this year’s Gonzaga and make a deep run to Sweet 16 or Elite Eight.
2010-11: 23-11, 16-2
2010-11 postseason: WNIT
Coach: Jerry Finkbeiner (253-197 at Oral Roberts, 454-232 overall)
Returning virtually their entire starting five for 2011-12, the Golden Eagles really don’t have a lot to replace. Thus, the benefit of continuity in the roster and with a seven member freshman class will make Oral Roberts the heavy favorites to win the Summit Conference.
Pretty much everyone responsible for the third round run in the WNIT is back, starting with Kevi Luper. Jaci Bingham and Georgia Jones will anchor the three guard offense for the Golden Eagles. Savanna Buck, the reigning Summit Conference 6th Woman of the Year, returns as well out on the wing. Also returning is Jordan Pyle, who was second team All Summit Conference and was a very dangerous shooter from the floor at 57.1 percent.
Who to Watch:
Amber Carver returns down in the post on a team that is so loaded with guards. Carver’s ability to score down low will go a long way in making their perimeter game even that much more dangerous as the season progresses. Carver should get more looks with more minutes and I would expect her scoring average to shoot up near double figures. Luper led the NCAA last year in points and steals, thus she rolls into this season as this year’s version of Courtney Vandersloot and will be very difficult to stop as she has a very strong supporting cast around her.
This should be the breakthrough year on a national scale for Oral Roberts. Everything is in place, including unbelievable depth in the backcourt as the Golden Eagles are at least five or six deep. They play in a one-bid NCAA Tournament type of league in the Summit Conference so taking care of business in the Conference Tournament will be critical to not leave their fate on Selection Sunday in the Committee’s hands.
Coach Finkbeiner has taken the Golden Eagle program to unprecedented heights with 253 wins in his tenure where in the ten year or so stretch before his arrival the program won just 85 games. If you mix in an exciting up-tempo brand of basketball, you have all the makings of a special run this season and for several years to come as this is not an overly senior laden club with just three seniors of the squad.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Kevi Luper, Senior, Guard, 23.1 PPG
Jaci Bingham, Junior, Guard, 11.7 PPG
Jordan Pyle, Senior, Forward, 15.4 PPG
Georgia Jones Senior, Guard, 7.9 PPG
Amber Carver, sophomore, Center, 5.5 PPG