Dec. 2, 2011
RUSTON, La. - Senior center Brett Benzio had a double-double with 16 points and 16 rebounds, and junior guard Olivia Grayson had a team-leading 19 points, as the Tulane University women's basketball team defeated Louisiana Tech, 61-52, Friday evening at the Thomas Assembly Center.
The Green Wave defense held the Lady Techsters - who entered the game averaging 68.7 points per game and ranked 20th nationally with a 45.5 field goal percentage - to a .295 clip (18-of-61) and just nine field goals in each half. With the win, the Green Wave earn their first-ever victory over the Lady Techsters to improve to 6-1 on the year. Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, falls to 2-5.
"I didn't think we could really hold them to a low number scoring and we did tonight," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said. "Brett Benzio had a great night. She changed their shot, she scored and she really gave us some consistency in that second half. I thought the she had a couple of other blocks in there that were called fouls. It could have been a triple-double for her tonight."
Benzio added a season-high six blocks to her third double-double performance of the season while Grayson nearly posted a double-double of her own with nine rebounds. Grayson and freshman forward Adesuwa Ebomwonyi shared team-high assists honors with three each while the duo joined rookie guard Danielle Blagg with a team-best two steal apiece.
As a team, the Green Wave had a season-low 14 turnovers and just three came in the second half. Tulane forced 19 Tech turnovers and turned them in 15 points, outscored the Lady Techsters in the paint 30-18 and turned 15 offensive rebounds into 17 second-chance points.
Louisiana Tech averaged 6.3 3-pointers a game entering Friday's contest and finished with four. Half of those, however, came in the final 32 second when the outcome was already evident.
"There were some mismatches which went our way," Stockton said of her team's defensive effort. "They were trying to put the ball on the floor and get by Brett. Brett did a nice job of not getting beat on those. They hit those 3s there at the end, but I thought we really contained them throughout the game. They shoot 3s really well, and I felt we took that part of their game away today."
Tulane raced out to 12-2 lead just under seven minutes into the ballgame. Louisiana Tech answered with a 7-0 run over the next 3:40 and eventually whittled the deficit down to one at 16-15 and 20-19 late in the half. The Green Wave answered each run to maintain their lead and went into the locker room at the break on top 24-21.
Blagg sparked a 9-0 run to start the second half with a 3-pointer 31 seconds into the stanza and a pair of free throws by Janique Kautsky put Tulane ahed 33-21 with 15:52 to play. The Green Wave led by as many as 15 at 43-28 with 10:49 left to go, but the Lady Techsters refused to go away and used an 11-2 run over the next 4:43 to cut the deficit to five.
That, however, was as close as Louisiana Tech would get as a Grayson 3-pointer and a Benzio put-back pushed the advantage back to double-digit where it remained for most of the remainder of the ballgame.
Louisiana Tech's Whitney Jones led all players with 20 points and Shantale Bramble -Donaldson was next with 14 for the Lady Techsters. Bramble-Donaldson posted a double-double of her own with 10 rebounds. Jones had a game-high three steals and Courtney Hayes had a team-best four assists.
The Green Wave return to action on Sunday, Dec. 4, when they travel to Starkville, Miss., to take on Mississippi State at 2 p.m. The game against the Bulldogs is the second of a three-game road swing as the Green Wave will play at North Texas on Dec. 9 before returning to Fogelman Arena on Sunday, Dec. 11, when Tulane plays host to Southern at 2 p.m.
For tickets to that game and future 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.