Jan. 25, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - Junior forward Tiffany Dale led a balanced Green Wave attack, tying a career high with 22 points to go with 10 rebounds to complete a double-double, as the Tulane University women's basketball team defeated Conference USA newcomer Louisiana Tech, 75-61, on Saturday afternoon in Devlin Fieldhouse.
Tulane trailed by as many as six at 20-14 with 10:28 to play in the first half before using a 10-run over the next 4:02 to take a 24-20 lead it would not relinquish. The Green Wave advantage swelled to as many as 18 three times in the second half, but the Lady Techsters held Tulane without a field goal for a span of 6:29 to whittle the deficit down to single digits. From there, junior point guard Jamie Kaplan hit jumpers in two of the Green Wave's next three possessions to create some breathing room, and Tulane sank 6-of-8 free throws over the final minute and a half to put the game away.
With the win, Tulane ran its streak to three in a row and improved to 14-5 on the year and 5-1 in C-USA play. Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, fell to 6-13 overall and 1-5 in league action.
"I thought Louisiana Tech did a good job in the first half," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said. "They hit some jumpers, they got the ball and they attacked. They were able to hit some jump shots against our zone. They hit a couple of outside shots then kept in it with their rebounding. I give them a lot of credit. In the second half, we did a better job defensively of just giving them one shot. Also we scored a little bit more on transition in the second half which got that lead up to double figures, so that gave us a little room"
As a team, Tulane hit 42.6 percent from the field (23-of-54), including an 11-of-25 performance in the second half (.440), and combined to connect on 26-of-34 free throws. The Green Wave's .765 performance from the charity stripe was their best since connecting at a .828 clip (24-of-29) against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Dec. 21, and the team's 26 makes stands as the second-most this season and five shy of the 31 freebies in 45 chances against Virginia on Dec. 20.
Dale, who was 5-of-8 from the field and sank all 12 of her free throw opportunities, was one of four Tulane players to finish with double-digit point totals as Kaplan added 18 and both junior guard Danielle Blagg and sophomore center Chinwe Duru chipped in with 10 apiece. With nine rebounds, Blagg fell one board shy of posting the Wave's second double-double of the night and Kaplan led the squad with seven assists. Junior wing Adesuwa Ebomwonyi and sophomore forward Tierra Jones led an 11-steal effort with three thefts each.
"That's something we do best," Stockton said of getting contributions from several players in Saturday's win. "I think we are a pretty balanced team. When we get balanced scoring from everyone, we are more difficult to stop. If we share the ball, we win. I think that has a lot to do with our field goal percentage and the amount of free throws we get. I like the intensity of our team on our offensive transition.
"I think Jamie did a nice job of getting the ball out, leading that break and pushing the team. When you have someone as fast as Tiffany getting down the floor, it's hard to defend us that way. I like the way we are playing. If we can use more people, you don't have to worry about fatigue as much. I thought everyone who played today did contribute."
The two teams waged a back-and-forth battle over the first seven-plus minutes and with her team trailing by one, Louisiana Tech guard LaQuan Jackson sparked a 7-0 Lady Techsters run with a 3-pointer as the visiting squad went up by six. From there, the Green Wave got a jumper by freshman guard Leslie Vorpahl, a free throw by Duru, a trey by rookie guard Courtnie Latham and four straight free throws by Jones to go ahead 24-20.
Louisiana Tech's Whitney Frazier halted Tulane's run with a jumper with 6:14 to play in the first half and hit a layup 4:17 later to make it a five-point affair at 31-26. Tulane, however, ended the opening stanza with four straight points and scored seven of the first nine points after halftime to go up 42-28. Following a Duru layup with 12:30 to play, the Green Wave appeared to be in control with a 55-37 lead and held a 17-point edge at 59-42 with 9:51 before the field goal drought began.
The Lady Techsters whittled Tulane's lead down to nine on three occasions, with the last coming at 70-61 with 1:21 to play, but the Green Wave's free throw shooting down the stretch kept Louisiana Tech at bay.
"We have momentum right now," Kaplan added. "We knew coming into this game that it was an important game. I think games like this separate good teams from great teams. I'm glad we got the win today and we just have to stay focused as next week comes."
Frazier led Louisiana Tech with 18 points while posting game highs of 11 rebounds and four steals. Lulu Perry was next for the Lady Techsters offensively with 17 points and Chrisstasia Walter led all players with eight assists.
The Green Wave return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 29, when they travel to Houston, Texas, to take on C-USA rival Rice at 7 p.m. in Tudor Fieldhouse. From there, the Tulane team will return to New Orleans for back-to-back home contests against UTEP on Feb. 1 and North Texas on Feb. 5.
For tickets to those games, 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).