March 6, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane Green Wave fell in the C-USA tournament at Fogelman Arena for the first time, as Southern Miss picked up their first win over Tulane in New Orleans since 1997 with a 72-55 win in the quarterfinals of the C-USA women's basketball championship Friday. Brittany Lindsey paced Tulane with 16 points and tied her career-high with 11 rebounds.
Junior guard Indira Kaljo added 12 points with a pair of threes. Senior Ashley Langford handed out seven assists to finish with 722 for her career. With eight points she finishes 19th in Tulane history in scoring with 1,047 points. Senior Megan Valicevic added nine points with three rebounds.
Tulane led 40-37 with 15:18 to go, but were held without a field goal for over six minutes and missed 14 of their final 19 attempts. Tulane finished with a shooting percentage of .375 (21-of-56), but 26 percent in those final 15 minutes.
Southern Miss used a 20-2 run over 8:01, hitting seven-of-eight from the field in that stretch. Stephanie Helgeson scored 20 points for Southern Miss, while Andrea Barber added 19 points and nine assists. Pauline Love added 15 points and nine rebounds. The Eagles hit on 49 percent from the field, 28-of-57, and 50 percent in the second half.
The sixth-seeded Green Wave fall to 18-14 overall. The third-seeded Southern Miss improves to 19-11, and will face the winner of UTEP and Marshall.
"Their efficiency on offense was really tough to respond to," head coach Lisa Stockton said. "If Southern Miss hadn't answered with such great shooting, we could have had the game in control."
Southern Miss opened to a 4-0 lead on baskets from Love and Helgeson before Langford knocked down a three from the corner. Langford struck again from three, and then found Valicevic cutting back door for a lay-up as Tulane took an 8-7 lead.
Love struck from the corner with a three-pointer and Helgeson added a put-back as USM surged ahead 14-10. After trading baskets, Southern Miss scored the next five points as Kendra Reed and Andrea Barber connected on three-balls as the Eagles led 24-12. Kaljo hit a runner, and Brittany Lindsey scored inside as the Wave trimmed the margin to 26-20 with 7:14 left before the half.
Helgeson and Love each muscled a pair of inside scores, but Valicevic answered inside and Roshaunda Barnes hit her third three-pointer of the season as Tulane stayed within 34-27.
The Green Wave cut the margin to 34-30 at the break, as Kaljo scored in transition and Langford hit one of two free throws following an intentional foul. The Green Wave had two shots and the ball with 29 seconds left in the half, but turned the opportunity into just one point.
Southern Miss hit four-of-nine from behind the arc in the first half, and shot 48 percent in the first frame. Tulane was held to 39 percent shooting, but forced 10 turnovers leading to seven points.
Langford led Tulane with seven points at the half, while the duo of Helgeson and Love combined for 21 of USM's 34 points.
In the second half, Lindsey hit a lay-up in transition, and added a pair of jumpers as Tulane pulled to within 38-37. Kaljo nailed a three from the wing to give Tulane its first lead since 10-7 at 40-37 with 15:18 left.
Southern Miss answered with a 14-1 run, taking a 49-41 advantage on a three-point play by Helgeson. The Eagles held Tulane without a field goal for 6:07 before Lindsey scored on a lay-up inside. The Eagles stretched the margin to 15, before Kaljo scored five points for the Wave, giving Tulane a flicker of hope with 6:05 to go. But Andrea Barber scored four-straight points from the free throw line and Tulane's offense failed to click.
It was the first time in 20 chances that seniors under Lisa Stockton have walked off the Fogelman Arena floor after a loss. The Green Wave have won 15 straight senior days, and won the 1999 C-USA championship at Fogelman. The Green Wave also won a home game in the first round of the 2007 WNIT.
"These are tremendous seniors," a choked up Stockton said. "We were in Lubbock, together [in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina]. And from when they came in, to when they left, we're a better program. So I'm very thankful to them. This is a special group."