Feb. 2, 2013
HOUSTON - Five Green Wave players posted double-digit scoring totals and the offense connected at a season-best .525 clip from the field (31-of-59) as the Tulane University women's basketball team rolled past Conference USA rival Houston, 74-56, on Saturday afternoon at Hofheinz Pavilion.
The Green Wave held a 10-point lead at halftime and quickly quieted any talks of a second-half comeback by the Cougars as Tulane scored the first nine points to go on a 21-4 run over the first nine-plus minutes of the final frame. With the win, the Green Wave improve to 16-4 overall and 5-2 in league play while sitting one game shy of the team record for consecutive non-home wins with nine. Houston, meanwhile, dropped its third-straight ballgame to fall to 9-11 on the year and 3-4 in conference action.
"It definitely was a good team effort and we shot the ball well," Tulane head women's basketball coach Lisa Stockton said. "That's something that we struggled with the last two games - just hitting open shots. I thought Tiffany Dale played a super game. She was so controlled and it was probably the best game of her career. Then you've got (Danielle) Blagg doing that and Tyria Snow did a nice job. And also, Olivia Grayson struggled a bit this week (due to illness) but came in and gave us some great minutes."
Houston held a 42-33 rebounding advantage, but Tulane turned nine offensive boards into 13 second-chance points, forced 17 turnovers on the strength of 11 steals to post 29 points off Houston miscues and held a 10-2 edge in fast-break points. In addition, Tulane's bench outscored its counterparts from the home team, 23-11.
Senior wing Janique Kautsky led the squad with 15 points, including a 3-for-3 showing from beyond the 3-point arc, and sophomore forward Tiffany Dale posted her second double-double of the year with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Danielle Blagg also had 12 points - all in the second half on the strength of a 4-for-6 performance from 3-point land - while senior guard Olivia Grayson and redshirt-sophomore forward Whitney Bibbins had 10 each.
Sophomore forward led Tulane's 21-assist effort with six dimes while Grayson and Snow posted four each, and Dale posted game-high honors in blocks and steals with four and two, respectively. Tulane's 74 points were the most in a conference win since posting an 82-77 victory at Rice on Feb. 24, 2011, and the most in a league game since falling 90-84 at Houston on March 5 of the same year.
"Janique did the best job of starting us off," Stockton said. "She hit those two shots to start off the game and that really took some of the pressure off of our offense. She looked really relaxed and finished 6-for-8. I'll take that shooting percentage any night. That was how I think Janique can play as far as being an offensive threat. She did a super job with that. I've got to give credit to our guards. They really drew people off and found the shooters. It was a great team performance for us tonight."
The Cougars scored the game's opening points on a layup by Marché Amerson and Tulane scored the next seven points to take a 7-2 lead they would not relinquish. The Wave had nine-point leads at 17-8 and 19-10 during the opening period and Houston cut the deficit to three at 21-18 with 7:35 to go before halftime. Tulane doubled up the Cougars 14-7 the rest of the half to go into the locker room at the break on top, 35-25.
Blagg opened the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers, Dale added a layup and Grayson connected on a free throw to make it a 19-point contest before Houston's Yasmeen Thompson stopped Tulane's 9-0 run with a layup. Bibbins, however, nailed two jumpers in consecutive trips down the court to make it 50-27 and the lead never dipped below 20 until the final 30 seconds of the ballgame.
Tulane's lead swelled to as many as 27 on three occasions - the latest coming at 74-47 with 2:45 remaining in regulation. Houston scored the final nine points of the game, but the final outcome had long since been decided.
"It was a good road trip," Stockton added. "The one thing that happens on the road is you really get a lot of time with them and you can talk with them about a lot of things. Ty Snow is in a good place right now. She's helped us with that confidence. Blagg is one of those people that can really score and that we really rely on. I'm certainly happy. It's hard to go on the road, miss class and all of that. We've got a big game coming up with UTEP and I'm glad we played well today."
Alecia Smith led Houston with a game-high 23 points after nailing 7-of-11 shots from beyond the arc to go with a pair of free throws. The rest of the team, however, accounted for just 33 points and none of the other 10 players to take the court for the Cougars had more than six. Te'Onna Campbell paced the Cougars with nine rebounds and a trio of steals while Porsche Landry led UH with four assists.
Tulane returns to action on Thursday, Feb. 7, when the Green Wave play host to UTEP at 7 p.m. in Devlin Fieldhouse. For tickets that game, 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.