Jan. 9, 2014
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The junior tandem of forward Tiffany Dale and point guard Jamie Kaplan both posted double-doubles and the Green Wave used a 14-0 run late in the game to turn a single-digit edge into a 22-point advantage as the Tulane University women's basketball team defeated Marshall, 77-61, in the Conference USA opener for both teams on Thursday night at the Cam Henderson Center.
Tulane held a slim 37-35 lead at the break and found themselves down by three at 42-39 early in the second half, but junior guard Danielle Blagg scored five consecutive points with a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws to give the Green Wave a two-point lead they would not relinquish. With the win, Tulane's sixth in its last seven games, the Green Wave improve ot 10-4 on the year. Marshall, meanwhile, saw its two-game winning streak come to an end as the Herd fell to 7-7.
"I thought out kids did a great job as far as battling through adversity goes," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said. "We had some foul trouble from the very beginning and that was certainly an obstacle for us and our players came in, played some different roles and filled in. At one point, we had four guards on the court so we did a nice job of overcoming that.
"In the second half, defensively we went into a zone to protect our players as much as we could. That really helped. We didn't give up many outside shots and we were able to rebound out of it. I thought that was a real key for us. It really started at 12 minutes (remaining in the second half). We were able to hit some wide open shots in transition so that busted it open a little bit and gave us some confidence."
The Green Wave battled foul trouble throughout the contest as three players were call for four infractions each and Tulane was whistled a season-high 24 times. Undaunted, different players stepped up when they needed to as four finished with double-digit scoring totals.
Dale led the way with 18 points and a game-high 12 rebounds to post her fourth double-double of the year and Kaplan posted her second of the year with 12 points and a game-best 10 assists. Blagg finished for the Wave with 14 points while freshman guard Leslie Vorpahl chipped in with 11 off the bench, and both players sank a trio of 3-point baskets along the way. Vorpahl headlined the defense with a pair of steals to go with three assists and a blocked shot, and Dale led the team with two swats to go with three assists.
As a team, Tulane connected on 45.2 percent of its field goals (28-of-62) and 42.1 percent of its 3-pointers (8-of-19). Six of the Wave's treys came after the break as Tulane hit 75.0 percent from beyond the arc (6-of-8) in the second half. Defensively, the Green Wave held Marshall to a 32.1 field goal percentage (18-fo-56), including an 8-of-31 performance in the final frame (.258).
The Wave also held a 47-33 rebounding advantage and turned 13 offensive boards into as many second-chance points. Dale's 7-of-12 field goal performance helped Tulane outscore Marshall in the paint, 37-26.
"Tiffany Dale was so dynamic on the inside - she did some great things in there - and that really got a lot of attention and got our guards open," Stockton said. "You saws Leslie hit a couple of shots and then Danielle really busted it open. Those 3s gave us that lead and we were able to sustain it."
The Green Wave got off to a good start, holding the Thundering Herd without a field goal for the first 5:48 minutes to take an early 10-5 lead. Marshall rallied to take an 11-10 lead only and trailed by just one at 14-13 with 11:37 to play in the half only to see Tulane answer with a 14-0 rally over the next 4:58 to take a 28-13 advantage. The Herd answered with a 22-7 run to tie things up at 35-all, and Dale connected on her final shot of the opening stanza to send the Green Wave into the locker room with a two-point lead.
Marshall scores the first five points of the second half and held Tulane without a point until the 15:22 mark when Kaplan converted a layup. Following a basket by Marshall's Norrisha Victrum, Blagg's five-point spurt gave Tulane the lead for good.
The Thundering Herd kept things close for a while and trailed by just eight with 3:50 to play when Victrum sank a free throw to make it 63-55. From there, however, Blagg sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers and a combined three free throws by sophomore forward Tierra Jones and freshman guard Courtnie Latham to make it 72-55. Junior wing Andesuwa Ebomwonyi capped Tulane's late-game rally with a layup and a 3-pointer from the top of the key to stake the Green Wave to a 77-55 lead.
Marshall got two free throws each by Suporia Dickens and AJ Johnson to cut the deficit to 18 and Leah Scott dropped in a layup as the final horn sounded to account for the final score.
"A win on the road is key and now we only have seven (left) on the road," Stockton added. "We have to get the teams at home and be ready to play, but this is a tough place to play. Tonight, we faced a lot of adversity and fought through it. I'm really proud of our team. We bounced back well from out last game and we've got another tough one on Saturday."
Dickens and Scott shared game-high scoring honors with 19 points each and Victrum was next with 11. Dickens posted a double-double of her own with 10 rebounds and shared team-high steals honors with Scott at two thefts each. Victrum handed out a team-best four assists while Chelsey Romero tied for game-high block honors with two.
Tulane returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 11, when the Green Wave travel to Norfolk, Va., to take on C-USA newcomer Old Dominion at 1 p.m. (CST). The Wave's next home game is slated for Wednesday, Jan.15, when they play host to East Carolina at 7 p.m. in Devlin Fieldhouse.
For tickets to that game, as well as future Green Wave Athletics events, contact the Tulane Ticket Office. The ticket office is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson Jr. Center, and fans can also order tickets on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com or by calling (504) 861-WAVE (9283).