Feb. 17, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Redshirt-sophomore forward Whitney Bibbins scored 20 points off the bench and sophomore point guard Jamie Kaplan handed out a career-high eight assists, but it was not enough as the Tulane University women's basketball team dropped a 71-70, double-overtime decision to Conference USA foe Houston on Sunday afternoon in Devlin Fieldhouse.
Tulane held a 38-26 lead at halftime and was up by 16 at 42-26 less than a minute into the final period of regulation. Houston, however, used a 20-0 run from during a span of 8:17 in the second half to take a 57-49 advantage before Tulane rallied late to tie the game at 60-all and send the game into overtime. Both teams scored five points in the initial overtime period, and Bibbins gave Tulane a 70-69 lead with a layup and a free throw with 1:43 to go in what proved to be the final stanza
After holding the Green Wave without a point on their next two possessions, Houston saw a shot roll in and out of the basket, but Te'onna Campbell was able to secure the offensive rebound and connected on a layup with 5.4 seconds to play to account for the final score. With the loss, Tulane fell to 18-6 on the year and 7-4 in C-USA play while Houston improved to 11-13 overall and 5-6 in league action.
"We had a 16-point lead and I thought we were playing pretty well," Tulane head women's basketball coach Lisa Stockton said. "We had some people with fouls sitting on the bench, but one of our strengths has usually been going pretty deep (into our bench) and it not affect us. We just weren't able to do that today. It started on the glass. (Houston) started getting on the glass and getting extra shots. They were getting to the free throw line and we didn't do a very good job of protecting the lead."
The Green Wave held a 49-42 rebounding advantage, but Houston had 14 offensive rebounds after halftime including Campbell's board which led to her go-ahead basket. After connecting at a .438 clip from the field (14-of-32) in the first half, Tulane was just 10-of-29 in the second frame (.345) and 3-of-11 after regulation (.273) to finish with a 37.5 field goal percentage (27-of-72). Houston, meanwhile, hit 13-of-33 shots in the second half (.394) and 5-of-10 field goals in the overtime periods to finish the day with a 41.8 percentage (28-of-67).
Bibbins' offensive production helped Tulane hold a 38-5 advantage in points off the bench, but she was the lone Green Wave player to finish in double figures as Kaplan and senior guard Olivia Grayson both tallied eight. Grayson led the team with nine rebounds, and Bibbins paced the Tulane defense with four steals.
"I'm disappointed that we're not more consistent," Stockton said. "I think that some of our players give effort all of the time, but as a team we don't always do that. Part of it, honestly, is that we have a lot of depth and we probably depend on each other too much instead of stepping up ourselves."
Tulane appeared to be in control of the ballgame when a Kaplan layup gave the Green Wave their largest lead of the day 46 seconds into the second half. Houston cut the deficit to single digits 4:02 later when a Marché Amerson layup made it 46-37, but sophomore guard Danielle Blagg put Tulane back up by 12 the next time down the court with a layup plus a free throw after being fouled while making the shot with 14:40 left to play in regulation. That, however, would be Tulane's final points until the 6:23 mark and the Cougars held the Green Wave to a 0-for-11 performance over the next eight-plus minutes.
During that time, the Houston offense connected on 7-of-14 field goals and 3-of-5 free throws to take an eight-point lead before freshman center Chinwe Duru broke Tulane's drought with a layup to cut the Cougar lead to six. Following a free throw by Houston's Marissa Ashton, the Green Wave scored the next seven points to tie the game at 58-58 with 2:42 to play. The Cougars' Porsche Landry gave her team a two-point lead 1:04 later, Kaplan tied things up two possessions later, and Houston missed a pair of potential game-winning shots in the final seconds to set up the overtime periods.
"I thought we played really hard in the last five minutes of regulation and the two overtimes," Stockton added. "We played about as hard as we can play. It's just tough to fight from a 16-point lead to being down by (eight). It's just a lot of swings to be able to control, and I'm just disappointed.
"I'm disappointed with the effort of our team overall. I think we play well against teams with good records and we haven't played well against teams that don't. We need to look ourselves in the eye and figure out why that is."
Campbell led three Houston players in double figures with 17 points while Landry tallied 16 and Amerson had 15. Yasmeen Thompson pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, Landry had a team-best seven assists, and Ashton shared game-high steal honors with Bibbins at four apiece.
The Green Wave return to action on Thursday, Feb. 21, when they travel to Birmingham, Ala., to take on C-USA foe UAB at 7 p.m. in Bartow Arena. Tulane's next home game is slated for Sunday, Feb. 24, when Tulsa comes to town for a 2 p.m. showdown.
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.