Feb. 26, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - Junior point guard Jamie Kaplan posted game highs with 17 points and seven assists as the Tulane University women's basketball reached the 20-win plateau for the fifth consecutive season with a 65-61 home win over Conference USA foe Tulsa on Wednesday evening.
The Green Wave held a 28-25 halftime lead and were up by by as many as 10 early in the second half only to see the Golden Hurricane stormed back to take a 46-45 lead with 9:11 left to play. From there, Tulane went on an 8-2 run over the next 2:34 and never trailed again. Tulsa cut the Wave's lead down to two twice inside the final 30 seconds, but Tulane answered with a pair of free throws by freshman guard Courtnie Latham and junior forward Tiffany Dale on each occasion to keep the Hurricane at bay.
With the win, the Green Wave improved to 20-7 on the year and 11-3 in C-USA play. Tulsa, meanwhile, fell to 11-14 overall and 5-9 in league action.
"They are challenging to defend at times because they can shoot the 3 so well," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said. "If you get up there in defend them, they scored inside on us. We really had to be very disciplined with our defense and make sure the right people were shooting the ball instead of the people who were going to hurt us. I think we did a nice job of that.
"They got some offensive rebounds that kept them in the game for a while. I just told the team that our rebounds are what sealed it for us. Making them go one-and-done allowed us to go on offense with a little bit of a lead. It was a hard-fought game. When a team can shoot 3s like that, they are always in it."
Kaplan was one of three Green Wave players to post double-digit scoring totals as junior guard Danielle Blagg finished with 13 and junior wing Adesuwa Ebomwonyi added 12. Ebomwonyi led Tulane with nine rebounds to go with one block and a steal, while Dale paced the defense with two blocked shots.
As a team, the Wave shot 42.9 percent from the field (21-of-49), including a .480 clip in the second half (12-of-25). Tulane out-rebounded Tulsa, 38-31 and turned 13 offensive boards into 13 second-chance points.
It was a game of runs early on as Tulane scored the game's first eight points, Tulsa scored the next five and the Green Wave tallied the ensuing eighth. Tulane held a comfortable 23-15 lead with 8:27 to go before the break, but the Golden Hurricane defense held the home team to just two free throws over the next six-plus minutes while getting consecutive 3-pointers and a layup by Kadan Brady to make it a two-point affair with 5:30 on the clock.
Kaplan broke Tulane's drought with a 3-pointer of her own with 2:18 to play in the first half, and Tulsa's Mariah Turner accounted for the final points of the stanza with a layup with eight seconds on the clock to send the Green Wave into the locker room up by three.
Tulane appeared to take control of the contest early in the second half as a Blagg 3-pointer, two free throws by Dale and a layup by Kaplan staked the Green Wave to a 35-25 advantage just 1:32 into the frame. Tulsa whittled the lead down to three at 39-36 just over four minutes later and Tulane appeared to regain momentum as Ebomwonyi converted a layup and Blagg drained another trey to give the Wave an eight-point edge with 13:34 to go.
The Golden Hurricane were far from done, however, and rattled off the next eight points. Following a free throw by sophomore forward Tierra Jones, Liesl Spoerl gave Tulsa its lone lead of the half. Kaplan followed with a 3-point basket, Turner re-tied the game with a layup and Kaplan gave the Green Wave the lead for good with a layup on the ensuing possession to set up the late-game dramatics.
"With three games left, everyone is fighting for positioning within the conference," Kaplan said. "We knew they were going to come out extremely aggressive and wanting to win, but so did we. Anytime they made a run, we just had to stay focused and execute our game plan. I thought we did a good job of that, especially in the second half."
Brady and Turner came off the bench to lead Tulsa with 15 and 10 points, respectively, and Brady shared team-high rebounding honors with Ashley Clark at five boards apiece. Clark paced the Golden Hurricane with five assists.
Tulane returns to action on Saturday, March 1, when the Green Wave travel to Hattiesburg, Miss., for a rematch with Southern Miss before closing out the regular season on Wednesday, March 5, at home against Middle Tennessee. For tickets to that game, as well as future Green Wave Athletics events, contact the Tulane Ticket Office. The ticket office is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson Jr. Center, and fans can also order tickets on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com or by calling (504) 861-WAVE (9283).