Nov. 19, 2011
NEW ORLEANS - Freshman forward Danielle Blagg had a game-high 22 points, but none were bigger than her layup and subsequent and-one free throw with 1.7 seconds remaining in overtime as the Tulane University women's basketball team upended No. 20 LSU, 65-62, Saturday evening in Fogelman Arena.
With the score knotted at 62-all and the Green Wave taking the ball out under the basket, Blagg ran off a screen, hauled in the entry pass from fellow rookie Jamie Kaplan and banked one off the glass. LSU forward Krystal Forthal was called for a foul on the play and Blagg hit the ensuing free throw to account for the final score.
In victory, Tulane improved to 3-0 on the year and picked up its first win over the Lady Tigers in New Orleans since a 76-72 victory on Dec. 31, 1999. The win also marks the first time in the 36-year history of the Green Wave program that the team has started 3-0 in back-to-back seasons as well as the first time Tulane has defeated LSU in consecutive years in the series' history. LSU, meanwhile, saw its 11-game road streak against state teams come to an end to fall to 2-1.
"I think what you saw tonight was a group of people who didn't care what their role was, they just wanted to win this game," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said. "I thought we were really focused. Defensively, we did some very good things for such a young team. We out-rebounded a much, much bigger team and a lot of that is just effort and will. I couldn't be happier for a group of people that just came together and got it done."
Tulane shot a season-high 41.1 percent from the field (23-of-56), including a 10-for-20 performance from beyond the 3-point arc. The Green Wave's 10 3-pointers is tied for the fifth most in Tulane single-game history. The Wave had 39 rebounds to the Lady Tigers' 34 and turned 20 offensive boards into 12 second-chance points.
Junior guard Olivia Grayson, who was limited to just four first-half minutes due to foul trouble, scored all 21 of her points following intermission. Ten of her points came in the first 3:29 of the second half to help the Green Wave turn a 26-23 deficit into a 33-28 lead. She was 4-of-6 from 3-point land while Blagg was a perfect 3-for-3.
"I can't say enough about (Grayson)," Stockton added. "She had those two fouls early and we just weren't sure if we could keep her out the whole half. The team really did a great job of staying in it and keeping the lead for most of (the first half). Then she came back in the second half and had 21 points. That's what you need from someone of her caliber and she produced."
Senior center Brett Benzio led all players with nine rebounds and had one of the Green Wave's three blocks on the night. Junior Tyria Snow and freshman Jamie Kaplan shared game-high assist honors with six apiece, and the pair combined three 3-pointers among 14 total points.
The Green Wave gave up the game's first bucket, but scored 15 of the first 22 points to take a 15-7 advantage less than six minutes in. The Lady Tigers, however, outscored Tulane 19-8 the rest of the way to take a three-point lead into the locker room at the break.
Thanks in large part to Grayson's early second-half onslaught, the Tulane lead swelled to as many as 10 at 46-36 with 11:08 left in regulation. LSU rallied to take a one-point advantage at 50-49 with 3:51 left in the second half and the two teams traded blows the rest of regulation. With the score knotted at 57-all, the Green Wave had an opportunity to create some separation as Blagg was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer with 1:00 to play.
Only one of her free throws fell, however, and LSU would take advantage. Both teams missed baskets and Tulane appeared to have the game won when Bianca Lutley missed a layup with seven seconds to go and the teams scrambled for the loose ball. Jeanne Kenney eventually came away with it for the Tigers and Grayson was called for a foul with 1.4 seconds to go. Kenney made the first, but missed the second to send the game into overtime.
After giving up the first points of the extra period, Tulane tied the game on a Benzio layup and went ahead 62-60 on a pair of Blagg free throws with 1:35 remaining on the clock. LSU tied the game at 62-all on a Forthan jumper 1:09 later to set up the game-winning 3-point play.
"Driving to the game tonight, I felt so good that we were going to have this great energy in this gym," Stockton said. "This is such a great gym for that. We even had our plays numbered because we knew we wouldn't be able to hear. It was so great. When they were down on the free throw line and they had a chance to win it (in regulation), our fans were a part of that - yelling and screaming. Who knows what made her miss, but that certainly helped. If you have a quiet gym, it's a lot easier to make that free throw."
LaSondra Barrett led LSU with 11 points while Forthan was next with 11. Kenney paced the Lady Tigers with five rebounds, Bianca Lutley led the team with five assists, and Barrett had three of LSU's 10 steals.
Tulane returns to action on Monday, Nov. 21, when the Green Wave play host to cross-town foe UNO at 7 p.m. in Fogelman Arena. From there, the Wave will head south of the border for the Cancun Challenge where Tulane will take on Purdue and Idaho State in Mexico on Nov. 24 and 25, respectively.
For tickets information to all 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.