March 14, 2013
TULSA, Okla. - Senior guard Olivia Grayson scored a season-high 23 points and sophomore forward Tiffany Dale posted a double-double with 12 points and dozen rebounds, but it was not enough as the Tulane University women's basketball team dropped a 75-68 decision to host Tulsa in the 2013 Conference USA Championship quarterfinals on Thursday evening at the Tulsa Convention Center.
While the Green Wave turned the ball over just 14 times in the ballgame, Tulane gave up 25 points off turnovers and allowed the Golden Hurricane to hit 45.3 percent of its field goals (24-of-53) for the game. In addition the Green Wave were called for 21 fouls and Tulsa took advantage by hitting 23-of-32 free throws (.719), including a 16-of-21 performance in the second half.
With the loss, Tulane falls to 22-8 on the year and will have to wait to learn of its postseason fate next week when the respective selection committees announce their tournament fields. Tulsa, meanwhile, improves to 15-16 overall and advances to the semifinals where the Golden Hurricane will play either East Carolina or Southern Miss.
"First of all I think Tulsa did a tremendous job," Tulane head women's basketball coach Lisa Stockton said. "I thought they were really aggressive. In the last five or six minutes, they did a really good job of getting to the free throw line, attacking the basket and making their free throws. I'm very disappointed in our defense. I thought there were a lot of really good things we did today. We out-rebounded (Tulsa), we didn't turn the ball over a lot, and then just really did a bad job of playing defense."
A dozen of Grayson's points came via four 3-pointers, and she led all players with five assists while pulling down seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Danielle Blagg and senior forward Brittany McDonald had a pair of steals.
Tulsa scored the first five points of the ballgame and held a 12-6 lead 6:05 into the contest. Tulane responded with a 19-3 run over the next 5:14 to take 25-15 advantage and led by as any as 11 at 35-24 and again at 37-26 on a pair of Dale free throws with 2:58 to play in the half. That, however, would be the Green Wave's final points of the frame as Tulsa went on a 6-0 run to make it a five-point affair at the break.
The Golden Hurricane stretched its scoring run to 10 with the first four points of the second half to cut the Green Wave lead to 37-36. Tulane answered with a 7-0 run to go ahead by eight and Tulsa came right back with a 9-0 to take a 45-44 lead with 13:03 to play. Tulane went back ahead by a point on a pair of free throws by sophomore forward Adesuwa Ebomwonyi, but a jumper by Kadan Brady on the ensuing possession gave the Hurricane a 47-46 advantage and they would not trail again.
Brady's bucket sparked an 8-0 Tulsa run and Tulane battled back to tie the game at 57-all with 6:29 remaining on the clock. It was all Golden Hurricane the rest of the way as Tulsa outscored the Green Wave 18-7 the rest of the way to come away with the win.
"We feel pretty confident that we'll have another opportunity to play," Stockton added. "I feel so bad for our seniors. I thought of Olivia Grayson, who gave everything she had today and this game was so important for her. I'm disappointed for her. I think that we go into next week and we take on whatever we've got. It's been a great season and we just need to make the most of it."
Taleya Mayberry led Tulsa with 21 points - 16 of which came in the second half on the strength of a 10-of-12 performance from the free throw line. Kelsee Grovey and Mariah Turner were next with 11 points each, and Brady finished with 10. Tiffani Couisnard paced the Hurricane with 11 rebounds, Ashley Clark posted a game-high four steals, and both Grovey and Mayberry handed out a trio of assists.