Brett Benzio turned in a double-double and seven blocks, but 24 turnovers doomed the Wave
Jan. 9, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - The Green Wave were leading a blowout midway through the second half, but a 18-0 run by Houston over 7:42 suddenly turned the game into a nail biter. In the end, a pair of free throws gave the Cougars a 58-56 win over the Tulane women's basketball team Friday at Fogelman Arena. Brett Benzio blocked seven shots, breaking a Tulane freshman record, and scored 18 points to go with 10 rebounds.
Houston's Brittney Scott took over in the second half, scoring 17 of her 19 points in the second half, including a stretch of 11-consecutive points as the Cougars erased an 18-point deficit. Houston improves to 9-4 overall, 1-0 in Conference USA. Tulane falls to 9-7 overall and 1-1 in C-USA.
Tied at 56-56, Houston inbounded the ball from underneath the basketball and Courtney Taylor pushed a shot towards the basket. Tiffany Aidoo was whistled for a foul, and Taylor hit the game-winning freebies with 1.9 seconds left.
After a 55.6 percent shooting performance in the first half, the Green Wave shot just 24 percent in the second half, totaling 17 points in the second period.
"We just have to play tougher," head coach Lisa Stockton said "We were much better than they were in the first half, but we didn't put the nail in the coffin. We have to hit our free throws, and the turnovers [in the second half] were just terrible."
The Green Wave committed a season-worst 24 turnovers, the first time Tulane had 20 or more miscues in 11 games.
Taylor finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Cougars.
Benzio connected on eight-of-11 field goals and recorded her sixth double-double when she grabbed an offensive board and put it back in to tie the game with 21.2 seconds left. In addition to her seven blocks, which is tied for fifth most in a game at Tulane, she also recorded three steals.
Tulane jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a no-look pass from Ashley Langford to Brittany Lindsey, who laid the ball in to finish the fast break. The Green Wave held Houston to without a field on the Cougars' first 10 attempts.
Benzio scored eight of Tulane's first 14 points, as the Wave led 14-7 with 11:48 to go in the first. Lindsey finished off a feed from Roshaunda Barnes as Tulane stretched the margin to 22-11.
The Green Wave led by as many as 15, at 34-19, as Tia Jackson hit a lay-up and then found Benzio for another jumper. The Wave took a 39-27 lead into intermission.
Tulane connected at a 55.6 percent clip (15-of-27) from the field, holding the Cougars to 28.9 percent (11-of-38). The Green Wave dominated the half, but Houston stayed within a dozen thank to 11 offensive rebounds and 10 forced turnovers.
Benzio led all scorers at halftime with 15 points, on seven-of-nine shooting. She also blocked five first-half shots and added six rebounds. Langford handed out six assists in the first half.
In the second half, Houston chipped away with a 14-0 run as Brittney Scott's jumped pulled the Cougars to within nine, at 45-36 with 12:40 remaining. Scott nailed a three from the wing, cutting the deficit to 45-41 with 10:24 left. After a pair of free throws cut it two, Courtney Taylor completed the Houston comeback with a baseline jumper, tying the game at 45-45.
Roshaunda Barnes finally ended the Tulane drought at 7:42 with a jumper to restore the lead. Lindsey scored off an inside feed from Barnes as Tulane surged ahead by six, 51-45 with 6:12 to go.
Scott hit a fade-away three-pointer to cut Tulane's lead to 53-51 with 3:39 left, and after a stop on defense, Houston tied the game with a lay-up from Scott. Taylor gave the Cougars the lead, converting and and-one inside with 1:17 remaining for a 56-53 lead.
Tulane came up empty on its next possession, but forced a turnover. Indira Kaljo attempted a game tying three, which rimmed out, but Benzio grabbed her 10th rebound of the game, and put it back while being fouled with 21.2 seconds left. The free throw tied the game at 56-56.
The Green Wave held on Houston's next possession, but the Cougars tied the ball up and set up their last possession. On the inbounds play, the Wave were called for a push, giving Taylor the game-winning free throws with 1.9 seconds left.
Tulane shot just 12 of 28 from the free throw line, easily a season-worst (in a game with more than 10 attempts).
Tulane will face Rice on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Fogelman Arena.