Monday, October 22, 2012

0 A few questions with Oral Roberts' Kevi Luper

By Kenny Howell

I still remember the first time I saw Kevi Luper play ball. It was a preseason scrimmage in Adair, Okla, a town of less 1,000 people according to the last census. I was new to the area, and I saw this incredibly athletic girl dominating both sides of the ball. They were playing a 6A school, the highest classification, as a 3A school and just dominating. It basically was Luper, or one of her talented teammates, stealing the ball at half court, then laying it up. She could shoot from every point on the floor, and could burn defenders whether it be from the paint or the three-point line. She was also stellar from 10-15 feet, so it was almost impossible to stop her. 

She was just a sophomore at the time, and would go on to dominate at the high school level. She went to the state tournament all four years, and finally won it her senior season. She was recruited by schools all over, including the Big 12, but she decided to go to Oral Roberts.

At Oral Roberts, she has achieved numerous accolades, too many to list here. She represented the USA at the Pan American Games last year. She is the only woman to ever lead the NCAA in scoring (23.7) and steals (3.7) in a single season, which she did her sophomore season. She is a 2-time AP All-American Honorable Mention. She has won the Summit League Player of the Year every year she has played.

As she goes into her senior season, she will see some change with a new head coach and a new conference. Luper answered a few questions recently about the upcoming season.

1. What are your expectations for yourself and ORU going into your senior season?
My expectations for myself go hand-in-hand with my expectations for my team this year. We want to make the NCAA tournament. Therefore my expectations include anything it takes to get my team there. We want to win, we want to have an enjoyable season, and we want to make the tournament.

2. The team is going through a few transitions this year. New coach and new conference, how has that been?
The new coaching staff has been great. As a team we have fully embraced every change this year and we will be better for it. The new conference is very exciting and I can't wait to see how we stack up with the other teams.

3. Do you know anything about the new teams you will be playing in the Southland Conference? Honestly, no. I just know we are ready to compete.

4. Are you going to miss road trips to South Dakota and North Dakota? I know how much you like seeing nothing but corn out of the bus window.
Hahaha.. umm.. most definitely not! This is more like an answer to our prayers.

5. What do you think the team is going to have to do to get over the hurdle and make it to the NCAA Tournament this year?
I think the team will have to re-focus. With a new coaching staff and a new conference everything is unfamiliar, but we are fully embracing it. We absolutely love Coach Misti (Cussen) and honestly, I think the way she coaches and the way the assistants push us, they are all we need to jump that hurdle.

6. How did the team handle the disappointment of missing the tournament the last few seasons after good regular seasons?
The disappointment of missing the tournament the last three years has been heavy on our hearts, but it can't keep us down. The success of making the tournament does not determine our joy overall. We practice hard, we play hard, and we lay it all on the line when it comes down to it; in knowing that, the disappointment isn't such a disappointment.

Photo courtesy of Oral Roberts University


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