Dec. 2, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - Senior guard Olivia Grayson and redshirt-sophomore Whitney Bibbins scored 12 points each and sophomore guard Danielle Blagg added 10 as the Tulane University women's basketball team rolled past UNC-Wilmington, 73-58, on Sunday afternoon at Devlin Fieldhouse.
Tulane trailed 23-21 with just under five minutes to play in the first half before rattling off 13 unanswered points to take control of the ballgame. Up seven at the break, the Wave scored nine of the first 11 points of the second half and the lead never dipped below seven the rest of the day. With the win, Tulane improves to 6-1 on the year. UNC-Wilmington, meanwhile, fell to 1-4.
"After any loss, your focus is on your team," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said. "One of the things we focused on was how we came out for the second half. We changed some things and we came out at that media (timeout) up seven from the half and I thought that was a good sign. Our seniors and our upperclassmen really did a good job of setting the tone for the second half. Hopefully that's something that we can continue doing."
The Green Wave pulled down a season-high 50 rebounds - including a team-high 11 by sophomore forward Tiffany Dale - and turned 17 offensive boards into 18 second-chance points. In addition, Tulane had a season-best 21 assists while committing a season-low 10 turnovers, 11 of which came via steal.
Grayson and sophomore Jamie Kaplan shared team-high assist honors with six assists each, and Grayson paced the squad with four steals. Freshman forward Tierra Jones was second to Dale with nine rebounds while Grayson and Bibbins pulled won six each.
"Certainly our rebounding was huge," Stockton said. "It was a point of emphasis the last two days. In the first half, I felt that we had our hands on a lot of balls and just couldn't pull them in. In the second half, I thought we were able to secure more."
The two teams traded baskets early on before Tulane appeared to begin pulling away as senior guard Tryia Snow nailed a 3-pointer to make it 21-15 with 8:07 to go before halftime. UNC-Wilmington's Kelva Atkins sparked a 6-0 Seahawks run to give the visiting club a two-point lead.
Bibbins sparked Tulane's game-deciding run with a free throw, followed by a three-point play by senior wing Janique Kuatsky, back-to-back baskets by Kautsky, a Kautsky 3-pointer and a Dale tip-in to make it 34-23 with 1:35 to go before the break.
UNC-Wilmington score the first four points of the half, but Grayson and Kautsky sandwiched jumpers around a pair of Seahawk free throws early in the second stanza, senior forward Brittany McDonald converted a three-point play and Dale converted a layup the next time down the court to make it 43-29.
The Seahawks cut the led down to seven at 49-42 with 12:02 to play and again at 51-44 just over 30 seconds later, but that would be as close as UNC-Wilmington would get the rest of the way. Tulane answered with a 7-0 run and the lead swelled to as many as 19 at 65-46 and again at 67-48.
Jessica Freeman led the Seahawks with 16 points while Atkins and Dana Brown had 15 and 10, respectively. Atkins led UNC-Wilmington with eight rebounds and a pair of steals while Tawanna Lee paced the club with four assists.
The Green Wave will enjoy a week off before traveling to Baton Rouge to take on LSU on Sunday, Dec. 9. Tulane's next home game is slated for Dec. 19 when the Wave play host to Louisiana-Lafayette at 11 a.m. in Devlin Fieldhouse.
For tickets to that contest, 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.