Oral Roberts University was in top form Thursday night, pounding Southland Conference leader Sam Houston State, 90-40, at the Mabee Center. With the win, ORU (12-11, 9-4 SLC) trails both SHSU (13-11, 9-3 SLC) and Lamar by just a half-game in the league standings.
ORU held the Bearkats to a 19.6% field goal percentage, a new program record for lowest shooting percentage allowed in a game. ORU's previous record came on November 29, 2003, when Bacone shot just 20.4% in a 119-29 Golden Eagle win.
The 50-point margin of victory is the largest of the season for Misti Cussen's team against NCAA Division I competition.
"This win is a credit to our starters tonight; they really set the tone defensively," said Cussen. "We're a much better team than we were a month ago, and I think we were a different opponent (for SHSU) than when we played them in Huntsville."
The Golden Eagles used a balanced scoring attack to rout Sam Houston. Jaci Bigham led the way with 17 points, while Taylor Cooper added 16, Christian Key had 15, Kevi Luper chipped in 13 and Savanna Buck scored 11 on the night. ORU put five players in double-figures for the second time this season.
Sarah Shelton led ORU with 10 rebounds. Buck added eight boards, while Bigham tallied a team-high five assists.
Britini Martin was the only SHSU player in double-figures, with 10 points.
The Golden Eagles shot 43.5% as a club, including a 55.6% mark in the second half.
ORU fell behind, 5-0, but scored the game's next six points. A Cooper three-pointer at the 15:50 mark gave ORU their first lead, at 6-5.
Later, a 16-4 run gave the Golden Eagles some breathing room. Key scored five straight points on her own to cap the run and give ORU a 22-10 lead with 8:29 left in the half.
ORU closed the half on a 9-0 rally to take a comfortable lead into the locker room. Cooper scored the last five points of the period, giving the home team a 36-19 lead.
Cooper and Key scored 11 points each to pace the Golden Eagles in the opening period, while SHSU shot just 19.2% from the floor.
The Golden Eagles started the second half with a 7-0 run, blitzing the Bearkats and building a 24-point lead. Two free throws from Bigham at the 18:02 mark gave ORU a massive 43-19 edge.
Bigham set a personal milestone at the 14:29 mark of the second half. The senior's three-pointer gave her 1,414 points for her career, placing her 10th on ORU's career scoring chart.
ORU used a 14-0 run midway through the half to put the game out of reach. Bigham and Luper each hit a pair of three-pointers during the run, which gave the home team a 63-27 lead with 11:45 left.
ORU's largest lead came with :25 left, when a Bernadett Balla free throw gave ORU a 90-39 edge.
Balla finished with seven points and seven rebounds on the night.
The Golden Eagles pounded Sam Houston on the boards, 53-33, including a season-high 20 offensive rebounds.
Buck's 11-point outing is a personal high in SLC play. The senior was 4-for-9 from the floor and 3-for-3 from the free throw line.
SHSU had just five field goals in each half and was just 2-for-15 (13.3%) from three-point range for the game.
ORU plays the second game of the three-game home set on Saturday, February 16 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Game time is scheduled for 5 pm CT.