Jan. 13, 2013
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Sophomore guard Danielle Blagg scored a career-high 26 points on the strength of an 8-for-13 performance from behind the 3-point arc as the Tulane University women's basketball team defeated Conference USA foe Marshall, 67-57, on Sunday afternoon at the Cam Henderson Center.
Blagg's effort keyed a 13-trey showing by the Green Wave as Tulane remained undefeated in games outside of Devlin Fieldhouse to improve to 12-3 on the year and even its C-USA record at 1-1. The Thundering Herd, meanwhile, dropped their fourth-straight contest to fall to 6-9 overall and 0-2 in league play.
"You talk about someone in the zone, she was really in the zone," Tulane head women's basketball coach Lisa Stockton said of Blagg. "The nice thing is that she just kept in rhythm. She didn't try to do anything different. When they came at her, she drove to the basket and got to the free throw line. I thought it was a very balanced day for her...What a tremendous performance. Those shots going in were so key and I think that really took the air out of their sails."
The eight 3-pointers by Blagg ranks second in Tulane single-game history, as does the Green Wave's 13 treys. They were both one short of each respective mark as Tiffany Aidoo holds the record with nine 3-pointers at UAB on Jan. 9, 2011, while the team mark of 14 was established at Nicholls State on Dec. 17, 2008.
Blagg was one of two Tulane players to finish with double-digit scoring totals as senior guard Olivia Grayson went for 13 after hitting 4-of-7 field goals with a 3-for-3 showing from 3. Grayson shared team-high assist honors with fellow senior guard Tyria Snow at six each, and did the same in steals along with Blagg, senior wing Janique Kautsky and redshirt-sophomore forward Whitney Bibbins at two each. In addition, Grayson paced the Wave with five rebounds.
Marshall held a 34-28 edge in rebounds, but Tulane turned 10 offensive boards into 15 second-chance points, forced 14 turnovers - including eight via steal - to tally 11 points off Herd miscues, and held a slight advantage in points in the paint at 16-14.
After shooting 29.6 percent from the field in the first half (8-of-27), Tulane heated up after halftime to connect on 14-of-25 shots (.560) with 8-of-14 coming from downtown (.571) to finish the day with a 42.3 field goal percentage. Seven of Tulane's second-half 3-points came off the right hand of Blagg. The Green Wave also got treys from Snow and sophomore forward Adesuwa Ebomwonyi to finish the afternoon with a .520 clip from beyond the arc.
The two teams traded baskets early on and Tulane held a 16-13 lead with 8:08 to play before the break following a 3-pointer by Marshall's Shay Weaver. The Green Wave got back-to-back 3-pointers by Blagg and Ebomwonyi to take a 22-13 lead with 6:48 left to play, but Marshall held Tulane without a basket the remainder of the period and went on a 13-3 run the rest of the way to go into the locker room on top 26-25.
A bucket by sophomore guard Jamie Kaplan put Tulane ahead in the opening moments of the second half, and Marshall took it right back when Norrisha Victrum nailed a jumper during the ensuing possession. From there, Grayson drilled a 3-pointer, sophomore forward Tiffany Dale laid one off the glass and Kaplan nailed a jumper to give Tulane a 34-28 lead it would not relinquish.
A Grayson layup put Tulane ahead 47-37 with 9:49 left to play and the lead never dipped below double digits the rest of the ballgame. The Green Wave lead swelled to as many as 19 courtesy of a Blagg 3-pointer to make it 60-41 with 4:26 remaining and the closest Marshall would get the rest of the way was 10 on two occasions.
"One thing that we did differently in the second half was we got the ball out and we really attacked," Stockton said. "Our post players attacked. We ran the ball more. That was something going into the game that we felt we had to do, and that got Danielle free for a lot of open looks. When we jogged the ball up, we just couldn't get her open."
Weaver and Victrum led Marshall with 18 and 16 points, respectively, and Chukwuka Ezeigbo led all players with a game-high 13 rebounds. Weaver, Orlandria Williams and Suporia Dickens shared team-high assist honors with two each while Ezeigbo, Weaver and Leandra King each had a steal.
Tulane returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 17, when the Green Wave travel to Houston to take on C-USA rival Rice at 7 p.m. in Tudor Fieldhouse. From there, Tulane returns home to Devlin Fieldhouse on Sunday, Jan. 20, when the Wave play host to Memphis with tipoff slated for 1 p.m.
For tickets the Tulane/Memphis contest, as well as future Green Wave events, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. The Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the Wilson Center on Ben Weiner Drive, and tickets can be purchased in person, over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.