Feb. 23, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - When Will Smith began his career as a recording artist as the vocal talent of D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, the group's 1987 debut album featured the hit song Just One of Those Days. In 1995, R&B star Monica opened her award-winning song Don't Take It Personal with the line "It's just one of them days" and Limp Bizkit followed suit in its 2001 hit Break Stuff.
When the Tulane University women's basketball team took the court against Conference USA foe Tulsa on Thursday evening in Fogelman Arena, the Green Wave lived out the theme behind all three songs in a 72-59 loss to the Golden Hurricane.
Tulane turned the ball over a season-high 30 times, including 19 in the first half, and got off just 45 shots to the Tulsa's 61. The Golden Hurricane converted the Green Wave's miscues into 26 points off turnovers, turned 13 offensive rebounds into 12 second-chance points and used 19 steals to post 16 fast-break points. The loss was the second straight for Tulane, which falls to 19-8 on the year and 8-6 in C-USA play. Tulsa, meanwhile, won its second consecutive ballgame to improve to 12-13 overall and 7-7 in league action.
"I felt like it was a total-team breakdown," Tulane head women's basketball coach Lisa Stockton said. "When you look at the turnovers, they're from everybody. You can't put your finger on whether it's the guards or the posts. It's from everybody. I thought Tulsa did a great job of staying with their game plan and I thought we did a bad job of staying intense. We cut it to four and then we started making turnovers again. We stopped the turnovers, cut it to four and then they came again. That took the last bit of air we had."
Junior guard Olivia Grayson led the Green Wave with 17 points and five assists, and shared game-high rebounding honors with freshman forward Tiffany Dale and senior center Brett Benzio at seven each. Benzio and junior forward Janique Kautsky both added nine points to the Green Wave tally and Benzio posted a game-high three blocked shots.
As a team, Tulane connected on 51.1 percent of its shots from the field (23-of-45) and overcame 7-of-18 performance in the first half (.389) to hit 16-of-27 after halftime (.593). The Wave left a potential nine points at the free throw line, however, as Tulane was 10-of-19 from the stripe (.526).
"Right now, we have a lot of distractions," Benzio said. "We just had Mardi Gras, we have a lot of freshmen and it's a really long season. I think it's more of a focus thing. We can come out and be on the court every day, but if we don't focus on the little things and value every possession...I think we can change it. You don't lose a game in the last five minutes. You lose it during the entire 40."
Tulane got off to a good start, scoring six of the game's first eight points, and led by as many as six at 10-4 just over five minutes into the contest. Tulsa rallied to tie things up at 10-all and the home team responded with a Benzio layup and a basket by freshman forward Adesuwa Ebomwonyi pushed the Green Wave back on top 14-10 with 9:46 to go before halftime.
Following a layup by Tulsa's Loren McDaniel and a pair of missed shots by the Green Wave, the Golden Hurricane's Chanice Scott drained a 3-pointer to give the visiting squad a 15-14 lead. Tulane tied the game on a free throw by Dale, but Taleya Mayberry fast-break layup put Tulsa on top for good at 17-15. The Golden Hurricane outscored the home team 13-3 the rest of the half and went into the locker room with a 30-18 advantage.
The Green Wave refused to go away quietly and chipped the deficit down to four on a Grayson layup to make it 41-37 with 11:08 left to play and again on a 3-pointer by Tyria Snow 56 seconds later to make it 44-40. From there, however, the Golden Hurricane went on a 16-5 run over the next 4:55 to make it 60-45 and all but put the game away. The closest Tulane would get the rest of the night was 11, and Maria Turner scored the final bucket for Tulsa with 11 seconds to go to account for the final score.
"This needs to be our wake-up call," Stockton added. "We need to play as a team and show up as a team. We've got two games left and if we can take care of that I think we'll still be in great shape. It's not that broken because it wasn't that long ago that we were on a roll. We just have to fix it. The players really have to take responsibility for what they need to give to this team."
Mayberry was one of four Tulsa players in double figures and shared game-high scoring honors with Grayson with 17 points. Turner was next with 13 points while Scott and Tiffani Couisnard each added 11. Couisnard and Turner paced the Golden Hurricane with six rebounds apiece, Mayberry had five of the team's 15 assists, and Taylor Hooker tallied seven of the squad's 19 steals.
Tulane returns to action on Sunday, Feb. 26, when the Green Wave travel to Dallas to take on SMU, before returning to Fogelman Arena for the regular-season finale vs. Houston on March 1. The contest against the Cougars will be Tulane's annual "Senior Day" and a special ceremony will be held prior to tipoff honoring its lone four-year letterwinner, Benzio.
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.