Jan. 8, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - Junior guard Tyria Snow had a career-high 13 points and senior center Brett Benzio pulled down a game-best 11 rebounds as the Tulane University women's basketball team defeated Conference USA foe UCF, 64-52, on Sunday afternoon in Fogelman Arena.
Snow - who set a then-career mark with 11 points on Thursday night in Memphis - hit 5-of-8 shots from the field and connected on 3-of-4 of her free throw opportunities to account for her scoring total while tallying four rebounds, two assists, one block and a steal. With the victory, Tulane improves to 12-3 on the year, evens its C-USA mark at 1-1 and remains a perfect 8-0 at home. UCF, meanwhile, fell to 6-8 overall and 1-1 in league play.
"I thought Ty played the best game of anyone tonight," Tulane head women's basketball coach Lisa Stockton said. "She did a great job defensively. Offensively, she scored when we needed her to. She also got the ball into people's hands to score. This was one of her better games of the year, and it's good to see her having some confidence. We need our guards to play well going into conference play."
The Green Wave hit 44.0 percent of its shots for the game (22-of-50) and the defense held UCF to a .357 clip (20-of-56), including a 31.3 percentage in the second half (10-of-32).
Snow was one of two Tulane players to finish with double-digit scoring totals as fellow junior guard Olivia Grayson had 11.Benzio fell one bucket shy of a double-double with eight points to go with three blocks and a pair of assists. Grayson had three of the team's seven steals and freshman guard Jamie Kaplan led all players with five assists.
"Our defense has really been good," Stockton said. "We did give up 11 offensive rebounds today, which is something we don't normally do, but I felt we played pretty consistently. We played a lot of players, had a lot of different matchups and did a good job there."
Tulane scored the first four points of the game before UCF rallied with an 8-2 run to claim an 8-6 advantage with 11:16 to play in the first half. From there, the two teams traded baskets and a Snow free throw 1:12 later gave the Green Wave an 11-10 lead they would not relinquish.
The Wave led by as many as 10 in the first half at 24-14 with 3:36 to go before the break, but UCF cut the deficit to four at 27-23 on a Gevenia Carter layup with 1:02 remaining in the stanza. An Adesuwa Ebomwonyi put-back, however, sent Tulane into the locker room on top 29-23.
Following a pair of free throws by UCF's Kayli Keough to open the second half, Tulane sandwiched a pair of Ebomwonyi baskets around two Grayson free throws to reclaim a double-digit lead at 35-25 with 16:53 remaining. UCF cut the advantage to six 2:32 later on an Ashia Kelly layup to make it 37-31 and that is as close as the Knights would get the rest of the way.
Freshman guard Danielle Blagg gave Tulane a 10-point lead for the third time in the second half at 45-35 with 11:43 left to play and the advantage never dipped into single digits again. Blagg's jumper sparked a 13-2 Green Wave rally over the next 5:32 and Tulane led by as many as 21 at 58-37 with 6:11 to go before the final horn.
With the Green Wave using mass substitutions, UCF actually outscored Tulane 13-6 the rest of the way to account for the final score.
"It was very important," Snow said of getting the win over the Knights. "It's better to be 1-1 rather than 0-2. We kind of have a little momentum going into our third game in conference. To get this win and get our confidence up was very important."
Carter led UCF with a game-high 16 points off the bench and Aisha Patrick paced the Knights with 10 rebounds. Patrick tied Carter for team-high assist honors with three each, and she also led the team with a trio of thefts. Sarah Green posted UCF's lone block of the ballgame.
The Green Wave return to action on Thursday, Jan. 12, when they travel to Houston to take on C-USA foe Rice at 7 p.m. at Autry Court. From there, Tulane will return home to battle UTEP on Sunday, Jan. 15, at 2 p.m. in Fogelman Arena.
For tickets to that game and future Green Wave home events, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office either in person, over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com. The Ticket Office located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center on Ben Weiner Drive, is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.