Feb. 7, 2010
NEW ORLEANS - Two days after singing the blues following a disappointing loss to Tulsa, the Tulane University women's basketball team was singing a different tune following Sunday afternoon's Conference USA showdown with SMU - Dinah Washington's "What A Difference A Day Makes," to be exact.
Actually, it was two days, but the Green Wave avenged a 70-59 loss to the Mustangs back on Jan. 17 in Dallas with a 78-59 decision in Fogelman Arena. With the win, Tulane improved to 17-5 overall and 6-3 in C-USA play. SMU, meanwhile, fell to 15-7 on the year and 5-4 in league action.
"We just came out with a much different focus today," Tulane head women's basketball coach Lisa Stockton said. "We took better shots and hit our shots. Our offense shooting 56 percent in the first half and coming out the second half with a pretty big run really took them out of the game.
"Our defense was a lot more aggressive today. Not only did we get steals but we got a lot of deflections that took them out of their offense. We didn't give them a lot of easy scores in the paint. [SMU's Christine] Elliott didn't really get a lot of good looks in there, and that was something that we were really concerned about. This was a good way to rebound from Friday."
Leading 44-31 at halftime, Tulane scored the first 17 points of the second half and cruised to the win. As a team, the Green Wave shot 51.7 percent from the field (31-of-60) and held the Mustangs to a 39.6 clip (21-of-53). Junior forward Danielle Nunn and junior point guard Roshaunda Barnes tied for the Tulane lead with 15 points each while senior guard Chassity Brown and freshman guard Olivia Grayson tallied 13 apiece.
Grayson led the Green Wave with seven rebounds, including six off the offensive glass, and junior forward Tiffany Aidoo led all players with five assists. Barnes paces the club with three of Tulane's 12 steals while Nunn, Grayson, freshman guard/forward Janique Kautsky and sophomore center Brett Benzio had two thefts each.
Tulane outscored SMU in the paint 42-18 and turned 23 Mustang turnovers into 30 points. The Green Wave also used their transition offense to near perfection, scoring 23 fast-break points to SMU's 7.
SMU's Alice Severin scored the game's first point and the Mustangs led by four early on at 6-2 and 8-4. Tulane rallied to take a 15-10 advantage 6:10 into the contest, but the Mustangs used a 9-0 rally to stake claim to a 19-15 lead thee minutes later. An Aidoo 3-pointer cut the deficit to one and a Brown layup put Tulane on top 20-19, and the Green Wave would not trail again.
The Green Wave held a slim 29-27 lead with 6:49 to go before halftime before going on a 14-4 rally the remainder of the first half to go into the locker room on top by 13. Nunn scored the first five points of the second half, followed by a Barnes layup and a Brown jumper while Grayson sandwiched a pair of layups around baskets by Nunn and Kautsky to give Tulane a 61-31 lead at the 12:31 mark. The lead swelled to as many as 32 at 68-32 almost two and a half minutes later and the lead never got below 20 until the final 30 seconds of the contest.
SMU's Brittany Gilliam led all players with 21 pints while Jillian Samuels and Severin finished with 16 and 10, respectively. Gilliam fell one rebound shy of a double-double with nine, paced the Mustangs with three steals and tied Haley Day for team-high assist honors with three each.
The Green Wave return to action on Thursday, Feb. 11, when they travel to Huntington, W.Va., to take on Marshall at 6 p.m. From there, Tulane heads to Greenville, N.C., for a showdown with East Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 13. Tipoff of that ballgame is slated for noon.
Tulane's next home game is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 18, when the Green Wave play host to Memphis at 7 p.m. in Fogelman Arena. From there, the Wave will kickoff a basketball doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 20 against UAB at 4 p.m. Tulane's men's team, meanwhile, will face Marshall on Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. For ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE.