Feb. 9, 2012
HOUSTON - Freshman forward Adesuwa Ebomwonyi came off the bench to score a career-high 17 points, pull down six rebounds and tally two assists and a pair of steals as the Tulane University women's basketball team defeated Conference USA foe Houston, 71-51, on Thursday evening in Hofheinz Pavilion.
All 11 players to make the trip to Texas scored at least two points, and Ebomwonyi's offensive production helped the Green Wave outscore the Houston reserves, 34-10. In victory, the Green Wave won their sixth-consecutive game to improve to 18-5 on the year and 7-3 in league action. Houston, meanwhile, fell to 2-20 overall and 1-9 in C-USA play.
"This is definitely a tough year for them," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said of the Cougars. "(Roxana) Button is playing very well and is having to carry that load, but it was nice to play some different people, try some different things and not have to play everybody so long going into Sunday. A lot of people really contributed.
"I thought Adesuwa really played a great game tonight. It was good to get this win and get some momentum going to play UTEP. We felt like that was a game that got away from us and we want to get it back."
Ebomwonyi - who hit 7-of-9 field goals, including a 3-pointer, and 2-of-3 free throws - was one of three Tulane players to finish in double figures as senior center Brett Benzio had 12 and junior guard Olivia Grayson scored 10. Benzio had a team-leading seven rebounds while adding three blocks, two assists and a steal. Grayson had six of the Green Wave's 20 assists while fellow junior guard Tyria Snow posted three steals and a pair of assists.
The Green Wave committed just 12 turnovers on the night and forced 21 on the strength of a 10-steal performance defensively. Tulane turned the Houston miscues into 25 points and held a 37-32 edge in rebounding, including 17 offensive boards to score 16 second-chance points.
"That was one of our goals going into this," Stockton said of Tulane's performance on the offensive glass. "With them in the zone, we felt like we could rebound pretty well. We also felt that we could establish Brett inside and we did. We got 12 points out of Brett in just 24 minutes. That was good. I felt that we were active on offense. I would have liked to have seen maybe a little more intensity on defense, but offensively I thought we played very well."
Tulane scored the game's first seven points and Houston rallied to cut the lead down to one at 9-8 with 14:30 to play in the first half only to see the Green Wave responded 6-0 run over the next 3:52 to make it 15-8. The Cougars got it back to four three more times in the opening stanza, but Tulane scored 14 of the final 18 points in the half - including a Grayson 3-pointer with five seconds on the clock - to go into the locker room on top 37-23.
The Green Wave run continued early in the second half as Tulane opened the stanza with a 6-0 run to stretch the lead to 43-23 and it remained a 20-plus point affair most of the rest of the way. Houston got it down to 16 on a Roxana Button jumper to make it 45-29 with 15:17 on the clock, but that is as close as the Cougars would get.
On Tulane's ensuing possession, freshman forward Tiffany Dale hit a layup while being fouled before converting the and-one free throw to spark a 7-0 run. Following a basket by Houston's Mae Woods, rookie guard Danielle Blagg drained a 3-pointer to give the Green Wave their biggest lead of the night at 55-31 with 10:17 remaining in regulation. The Cougars got it down below 20 points four times the rest of the game, and sophomore forward Brooke Blankenship nailed a jumper with 48 seconds to play to account for the final score.
"I thought that last play in the first half was key," Stockton said. "We got Turtle that 3 and she was able to knock that down. Then we came back in the second half and were really strong. That was good. We didn't really turn back and that took a little bit of pressure off of us."
Button led all players with 18 points - 12 of which came in the first half - while Amanda Lawson finished with 10. Lawson and Voche Martin shared team-high rebounding honors with four boards each, Button had half of Houston's 10 assists and Lawson had three of the Cougars' seven steals.
Tulane continues its road swing through Texas on Sunday, Feb. 12, when the Green Wave head to El Paso to take on league rival UTEP at 2 p.m. in the Don Haskins Center. From there, Tulane will return to Fogelman Arena on Thursday, Feb. 16, when it plays host to Rice at 7 p.m.
For tickets to that game and future Green Wave home events, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office either in person, over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com. The Ticket Office located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center on Ben Weiner Drive, is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.