Feb. 14, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Seniors Janique Kautsky and Tyria Snow scored 15 points each as the Tulane University women's basketball team defeated Conference USA foe Rice, 61-45, on Thursday evening in Devlin Fieldhouse.
The Owls out-rebounded the Green Wave, 40-31, but Tulane scored 22 points off of 20 Rice turnovers and used 13 steals to tally 16 fast-break points to come away with the win. In victory, Tulane completed the regular-season sweep of Rice to improve to 18-5 overall and 7-3 in C-USA play. The Owls, meanwhile, fell to 10-13 on the year and 2-8 in league action.
"Those were two of our goals going in," Tulane head women's basketball coach Lisa Stockton said. "Rice does turn the ball over a little bit and we wanted to create some offense off of that. We also wanted to use our speed. We felt that we had some speed on them and we wanted to get some easy baskets. In the second half, we did a much better job. In the first half, I don't think we did as good of a job in those areas."
Kautsky was 6-of-11 from the field, including a 3-for-5 performance from beyond the 3-point arc, while Snow came off the bench to hit 7-of-8 field goal attempts and 1-of-2 free throw opportunities. Sophomore forward Tiffany Dale joined pair in double figures with 10 points to go with a team-leading six rebounds. Sophomore guard Jamie Kaplan led all players with seven assists, and senior guard Olivia Grayson had a solid all-around performance with eight points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals.
As a team, the Green Wave shot 46.4 percent from the field (26-of-56) while holding Rice to a .327 clip (18-of-55). While Tulane lost the battle on the boards, the Wave outscored the Owls in the paint, 26-12. Tulane held a slight 27-25 lead going into the locker room at halftime and clung to a six-point advantage at 48-42 with 7:06 left to play. From there, however, the Green Wave held Rice to just one field goal the rest of the night and scored 13 of the final 16 points to come away with the win.
"I thought our defense clamped down better," Stockton said of her team's late-game performance. "I thought we did a better job of giving them (just) one shot in that last little bit, and when we got the rebound we were able to score on the other end. That really set a different tempo and a different tone."
Kautsky scored the game's first basket with a 3-pointer 12 seconds into the contest and the two teams sat deadlocked at 7-7 just over three minutes in. Tulane used a 7-0 run to create some breathing room, only to see Rice come back to make it a one-point affair at 16-15, at 18-17 and again at 22-21. The Green Wave got jumpers from Grayson and sophomore guard Danielle Blagg, and added a Blagg free throw to go up 27-21 with 2:04 to play in the first half, but the Owls scored the final four points of the stanza to make it a two-point affair at the break.
Rice tied the game at 27-27 on a pair of Megan Palmer free throws on the first possession of the second half, but Blagg canned a 3-pointer the next trip down the court to give Tulane the lead for good. The Green Wave kept the Owls at arms' reach most of the final frame, and a 3-pointer by Rice's Jessica Goswitz made it 48-42 with 7:06 on the clock. Tulane responded with a Kautsky trey and a Grayson jumper in to stretch the lead to 11, and a 3-pointer by Rice's Breion Allen made it 53-45 at the 4:46 mark.
Allen's basket would be the final points of the night for the Owls, and Tulane closed things out with a layup by Kautsky, consecutive layups by Snow and a bucket by Dale over the final four minutes to account for the final score.
"I had a long talk with the seniors and talked about finishing their season," Stockton added. "To me, this is their season now and I thought tonight they played like it and really did a tremendous job. They can write their own story is what I told them and I think they're really focused on doing that. It's hard to focus on 35 games, but to focus on seven is doable. I thought they showed tremendous leadership tonight."
Jessica Kuster led Rice with 12 points and completed a double-double with 11 rebounds to go with six assists and a steal. Allen added 10 points to the Owls' cause and Christal Porter led all players with 14 rebounds. Goswitz shared team-high assist honors with Kuster at six each while Megan Palmer had a team-best two steals.
The Green Wave return to action on Sunday, Feb. 17, when they play host to C-USA rival Houston at 2 p.m. in Devlin Fieldhouse. The game against the Cougars is Tulane's Play 4Kay contest, a national movement to raise awareness for breast cancer research and honor Hall of Fame coach Kay Yow who succumbed to the disease in 2009. Fans are encouraged to show their support by wearing pink and donations to assist the Kay Yow Foundation will be accepted throughout the ballgame.
For tickets to 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.