Nov. 9, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - Senior point guard Tyria Snow scored a career-high 18 points as the Tulane University women's basketball team opened Devlin Fieldhouse in style with a 66-59 win over Louisiana Tech on Friday evening in the season opener for both teams.
Tulane score the first points of the contest on a 3-pointer by Janique Kautsky and never trailed at any point. The Green Wave advantage swelled to as many as 14 points early in the second half and Louisiana Tech rallied to make it a two-point affair at 59-57 with 1:59 to play. The Green Wave defense held the Lady Techsters to just one field goal the rest of the way and hit 6-of-8 free throws over the final 36 seconds to account for the final score.
The win was the eighth straight to start a season for the Green Wave, who have now won 12 consecutive games against state opponents dating back to the 2010-11 season. Friday's game was the first contest of any sport played in Tulane's 79-year-old, on-campus facility, which recently received a top-to-bottom makeover thanks to a generous donation from Bob and Kate Devlin.
"It was just a great atmosphere tonight," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said. "It was very loud and it was almost hard to coach in here tonight. We had great fan support, and in some ways it was good that it came down to the end because the fans got a good game to watch. As a coach, I would have loved to see us hold that 12-point lead.
"We just have to be able to clamp down on defense when we need it. Defense has been our mainstay here, and in in that second half they just got too many good shots to close that lead. We turned the ball over in the last 10 minutes and it really wasn't forced - travels, charges and things like that. Those are things that we can control, and both of those things I think we can change quickly."
Snow, who hit 7-of-12 field goals, was one of three Tulane players to finish in double digits while fellow seniors Olivia Grayson and Janique Kautsky had 12 and 11, respectively. Sophomore guard Danielle Blagg was next with nine while sophomore forward Tiffany Dale had eight.
Grayson led the way on the boards with seven rebounds, Snow had a team-best four assists, and Dale had two of the squad's four blocked shots. Kautsky and Snow shared team-high steal honors with three apiece.
"You always want to play well against a team you grew up watching and you grew up idolizing," Snow said. "I grew up watching Tech when Witherspoon was there. When (Grayson) went out, and she's obviously a big part of our offense, we knew had somebody who can come in and take her place. We didn't panic at all, and I just thought it was a good opportunity for me to help carry my team. They weren't stopping my shot and it kept falling. The coaches were telling me to keep shooting and keep going hard off of screens, so that's what I was trying to do."
Tulane held a slim 14-13 edge with 11:30 to play in the first half and used a jumper and a 3-pointer from Blagg as well as a layup by freshman center Chinwe Duru to create some breathing room at 21-13. The lead got to double-digits at 30-19 on a Snow basket with 4:53 before the break and Tulane went into the locker room on top 41-29.
The Green Wave scored four of the first six points of the second half, but Louisiana Tech refused to go away without a fight. Down by 14 just 42 seconds into the final frame, the Lady Techsters cut the deficit to five at 50-45 just over four and a half minutes later. Tulane answered with a 7-0 run to stretch the lead back to a dozen only to see Louisiana Tech go on a 12-2 rally to make it 59-57.
Grayson hit 1-of-2 free throws the next time down the floor to make a three-point affair. Following a Louisiana Tech turnover, Kautsky pulled down an offensive rebound off a Grayson miss and sank a pair of free throws to all but put the game out of reach.
"I haven't been in that situation during my first three years, so to come out in this first game and go to the line like that was an amazing feeling and I wouldn't have it any other way," Kautsky said. "I just know I had to go out there and get that rebound for the team. If it wasn't me, then someone else would have had to go and get it. I was just happy I made that play."
Tavasha Anderson came off the bench to lead Louisiana Tech with 15 points. Brittany Lewis and Whitney Frazier added 12 and 10, respectively, to go with eight rebounds each. Frazier had a game-high five steals and both Janay Borum and Courtney Hayes had four assists apiece.
Tulane returns to action on Monday, Nov. 12, when the Green Wave travel to Monroe, La., to take on ULM at 7 p.m. in Fant-Ewing Coliseum. From there, Tulane will play at Southern on Nov. 16 and at the NAU Thanksgiving Tournament in Flagstaff, Ariz., from Nov. 23-24 before returning home to face Auburn on Nov. 28.
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.