Claremore Daily Progress

April 8, 2014

‘Path to Victory’

All-American shooter reaches ‘Summitt’ at ORU

Tim Ritter
Sports Editor

CLAREMORE — God works in mysterious ways ... and answers prayers when we least expect it.

For Adair native Kevi (Luper) Zufall, her teenage dream was to play college basketball for the Tennessee Lady Vols and then go on to the WNBA.

God’s calling — though — was for her to attend Oral Roberts University, have an All-American career in the Summit League and marry Golden Eagle baseball player Tim Zufall.

“When God speaks, he speaks loud and His plan (all along) was for me to go to ORU,” Luper-Zufall said.

Though she never donned the Lady Vols jersey and learned from Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt, Luper-Zufall did take a shot inside Tennessee’s historic gymnasium as an ORU senior shooting guard.

It was during the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament that Luper-Zufall and her ORU teammates faced the traditionally-rich Lady Vols on their homecourt with Summitt looking on from behind the bench.

In her final collegiate game, Luper-Zufall scored a game-high 20 points against Tennessee.

Some would say that Adair’s ‘Blonde Bomber’ had reached her ‘Summitt’ that night in Knoxville.

But, her faith in God and His plan was leading her down a different path — one that would involve a future with 6-foot-4 right-handed pitcher Tim Zufall and a successful future in the business world at RCB Bank in Claremore.

Every morning, Luper-Zufall seeks God’s wisdom through prayer and scripture, living her life according to Proverbs 17:22.

... “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Luper-Zufall acknowledged that was her favorite verse, and one that helped her throughout her four-year career inside the Mabee Center on the ORU campus.

Raised in a Christian home, where both her parents Kevin and Jamee displayed an upbringing that helped shape their daughter into an exceptional role model on and off the court, Luper-Zufall exemplified the ‘heart of a champion’ in more ways than one on the hardwood.

Throughout her basketball career, Luper-Zufall has broken records for her offensive scoring as well as her defensive tenacity.

She has led Adair and ORU to district, state and conference titles.

And, most of all, she’s believed strongly in being a true ‘team player’.

Whether she’s on the court knocking down jump shots, helping a customer get a loan at RCB or offering encouragement and love toward her husband, Tim, Luper-Zufall is  following God’s lead through Philippians 4:13.

Luper-Zufall can do all things through Christ, and she does it with a compassionate heart.

“I owe a lot to my parents for their support over the years, as well as teaching and showing me the right way to live my life,” Luper-Zufall said.

Also, Luper-Zufall credited former ORU women’s basketball coach Jerry Finkbeiner for taking a chance on a small-town gym-rat that had to overcome several injuries early in her playing career.

“Coach Fink was a great person that pushed me to be a better player on a daily basis,” Luper-Zufall said.

Finkbeiner’s ability to get the best out of Luper-Zufall helped take ORU women’s basketball to a higher level in the Summit League.

As a sophomore, Luper-Zufall became the first player in NCAA Division I to lead the nation in points and steals. She was also a three-time Summit League Player of the Year, as well as the Southland Conference Player of the Year.

The pinnacle of Luper-Zufall’s basketball career, though, began early on during H-O-R-S-E games against her brothers, Blaine and Christian, on a blacktop driveway in the small-town of Adair.

And, through it all, following God’s call helped her reach her ‘Summitt’ at ORU.