Jan. 22, 2014
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - In what has become a reoccurring theme during the Tulane University women's basketball team's 2013-14 campaign, the Green Wave found themselves playing an overtime contest before emerging with a 78-76 victory over Conference USA foe Charlotte on Wednesday evening in Dale F. Halton Arena.
The game was the second consecutive overtime win for Tulane and the third of the season to date. It is the most overtime victories by a Green Wave squad since the 1985-86 team won three games that was tied at the end of the second half. With the victory, Tulane improves to 13-5 on the year and 4-1 in C-USA action. Charlotte, meanwhile, falls to 9-9 overall and 3-2 in league play.
"I thought our kids really stayed in there and went in [at halftime] with a three-point lead with a lot of people sitting on the bench," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said. "We came back in the second half and got down by six or seven, and I really like how our team responded. We came in and made plays, especially in those last five minutes.
"They're tough to stop...The referees were calling a lot of tagging and things like that, and it was just hard to guard them. It was a good finish and I'm glad to see that our team can win close games. We've played three overtime games this year and we're 3-0, so that's a good sign."
Charlotte held a 47-40 advantage with 12:19 left to play in regulation before Tulane used a 15-2 run over the next 5:07 to go ahead 55-49. The Green Wave clung to a 65-62 lead on a layup by junior wing Adesuwa Ebomwonyi with 42 seconds to go, but 49ers' reserve Lefty Webster drained a 3-pointer with 18.9 ticks to play to send the game into the extra period.
The home team scored the first points of overtime on a layup by Gabby Tyler only to see junior guard Danielle Blagg nail a 3-pointer on the Green Wave's next possession to five Tulane a 68-67 lead. The two teams traded buckets over the next three-plus minutes and Blagg broke a 72-all tie with her second trey of overtime with 1:34 on the clock to give the Green Wave the lead for good. Charlotte twice made it a one-point game, but freshman guard Leslie Vorpahl hit a free throw with 12 seconds remaining to provide the winning margin.
The 49ers had two chances to tie things up in the waning moments but Tyler missed a pair of free throws and guard Hillary Sigmon failed to get a shot off at the horn to spark the Tulane celebration.
"Our kids really stayed in it," Stockton said. "I love our attitude. We don't drop our head. We talked about the kid hitting the 3-pointer to put it in overtime. She can hit it, but it's not necessarily what she does, and I thought our team really responded to that. In November, we would drop our heads. Today, we came back, fought and won."
Blagg led the Tulane offense with a game-high 19 points, all of which came after halftime, while Ebomwonyi and junior point guard Jamie Kaplan followed with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Ebomwonyi paced the Green Wave with eight rebounds, Kaplan handed out a team-best six assists, and freshman guard Courtnie Latham led all players with four steals.
As a team, Tulane connected on 42.6 percent of its shots from the field (26-of-61) and came up big when it mattered most as the Green Wave were 4-of-8 from the field and a perfect 2-of-2 from beyond the 3-point arc during the overtime session.
Charlotte held a 39-38 rebounding advantage and turned 16 offensive boards into 15 second chance points. The 49ers also out-scored Tulane in the paint, 36-28, but Tulane forced 14 turnovers - including eight via steal - and turned those miscues into 23 points.
"I was really glad to see the way Danielle played," Stockton added. "She was coming off a really good game and you know that they were going to be all over her. She still got shots off tonight. Our guards did a good job with that, but she also stayed in those shots. They fouled her because they were trying to not give her those shots. She had two chances for three free throws in there, but she stayed in it and got her points from the free throw line. That's something that she's learning she can do. It was good to see her come out and play with control with all that pressure on her."
The Green Wave scored the first three points of the contest and led by as many as eight at 16-8 when Vorpahl drained a 3-pointer with 13:27 to go before the break. From there, Charlotte rattled off seven straight points over the next 3:14 to make it a one-point affair. The two teams traded the next 14 points and redshirt-junior Katye Magee drained a 3-pointer from the right wing to stake Tulane to a 26-22 lead.
The 49ers answered with back-to-back jumpers by Sigmon and Ny Hammonds to tie things up, but Tulane got a free throw from junior forward Tiffany Dale with 36 seconds remaining and a layup by Kaplan just before the buzzer to go into the locker room on top, 29-26.
Charlotte, however, scored 12 of the first 15 points of the second half to claim a 38-32 lead. Tulane cut the deficit down to one at 40-39 with 13:45 on the clock only to see the 49ers respond with a 7-1 run to make it a seven-point contest and set up the wild finish.
Tyler led five Charlotte players in double figures offensively with 15 points while Hammonds and Kira Gordon had 14, Sigmon added 13 and Webster came off the bench to chip in 10. Tyler and Gordon share game-high rebounding honors with nine boards each, and Hammonds led all players with seven assists to go with a team-best two steals.
The Green Wave return to action on Saturday, Jan. 25, when they play host to Louisiana Tech at 2 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).