The Lady Jaguars entered their game with the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles on Thursday night with a 12-6 record, 2-3 in conference. Oral Roberts, a formidable opponent, entered toting a 10-8 record, 2-3 in conference. IUPUI was fresh off of a conference win over Denver the previous Saturday.
Before the game started, senior center Mikale Rogers was honored for surpassing the 1,000 career point milestone. Rogers is just the 23rd IUPUI basketball player, male or female, to surpass 1,000 career points. She surpassed the milestone in an upset victory against Purdue in December.
Despite the exciting pre-game festivities, IUPUI started the game groggy. Oral Roberts struck first with an easy layup, but IUPUI answered right back with a 3-pointer. After a bit of back and fourth, the Lady Jags finally woke up. Their defense tightened up and got on the floor after loose balls. The game was close for most of the first half until IUPUI’s offense finally hit its highest gear.
Mikale Rogers usually shoulders the load offensively for the Lady Jags, but the Golden Eagles were keyed in on her the entire evening. With the defense focused on the paint, that opened up the Lady Jaguar’s shooters to shine. The player who shone brightest was junior guard Danielle Lawrence. Lawrence buried 3-pointer after 3-pointer, and Oral Roberts was helpless to stop her. Lawrence sparked a run to end the half, and IUPUI entered the locker room at halftime leading 36-25.
The second half was more of the same from Lawrence. She continued her shooting spree, burying another 3-pointer within a minute of the half starting. With the defense beginning to focus more on the sharpshooting Lawrence, freshman guard Holly Hoopengarner opened up for some deep balls of her own.
“It’s a good feeling,” Lawrence said, of her hot hand that evening. “My teammates contributed. We were just trying to get in the flow of the game. Our mindset was defense, so I worked to make my defense turn to offense.”
IUPUI rode the lead they built in the first half all the way to the end of the game. The Lady Jags were tenacious on defense, challenging every pass and keeping the ball out of the paint. Oral Roberts did all they could to fight back into the game, but were smothered by the IUPUI defense. The Lady Jags came away with a 53-41 victory.
“It’s tough,” Lawrence said on conference play. “We started off really tough, going up to South Dakota. But this winning streak from Denver to this game is a good feeling.”
Lawrence finished the evening with the most points any player had scored in a game this season, 29. Hoopengarner also poured in 10.
The win put IUPUI at 13-6 for the season, 3-3 in conference. Next up for the Lady Jags is North Dakota State. The Lady Bison have not had an outstanding season in regards to overall record, but have the same conference record as IUPUI. The game will take place at home at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21.