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Oral Roberts women lose 83-62 to Tennessee

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 23, 2013 at 4:33 pm •  Published: March 23, 2013

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Oral Roberts' point guards keep running into misfortune whenever the Golden Eagles play at Tennessee.

In Oral Roberts' last NCAA tournament appearance back in 2008, the Golden Eagles lost their leading scorer soon after the opening tip against Tennessee when point guard Mariana Camargo injured her knee.

They faced Tennessee in the NCAA tournament again Saturday, but senior point guard Jaci Bigham was battling a stomach virus that had bothered her for a few days.

Bigham played anyway, but she struggled all day as Oral Roberts dropped a first-round game 83-62 to Tennessee, the No. 2 seed in the Oklahoma City Regional. Tennessee will face No. 10 seed Creighton on Monday.

"I don't think I've ever been that sick before," Bigham said. "I was pretty bad, just trying to get my fluids and trying to stay hydrated. It was a long couple of days. I'd never played under those conditions. The trainers did a good job of getting me back, but I just didn't have my legs under me."

Bigham, the Golden Eagles' career assists leader, entered the day averaging 12.7 points and 6.9 assists per game. She shot 1 of 9 on Saturday and had three points, two assists and five turnovers.

"Jaci's probably been able to take in about 500 calories in the last 48 hours," Oral Roberts coach Misti Cussen said. "She's been extremely sick. I would have loved to have a healthy Jaci Bigham coming to Knoxville, Tenn., today."

Without Camargo in the 2008 tournament, Oral Roberts got blown out 94-55 by a Tennessee team that went on to win the national title.

This time, the Golden Eagles were more competitive.

Oral Roberts (18-13) led for the first few minutes and stayed relatively close for most of the first half before Tennessee pulled away. The Golden Eagles committed 20 turnovers and couldn't survive a 5½-minute scoring drought to start the second half.

Kevi Luper, a three-time Summit League player of the year, had 20 points and ended her career as Oral Roberts' leading scorer with 2,867 career points.

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