Dec. 9, 2012
BATON ROUGE, La. - Playing in her home town, redshirt-sophomore forward Whitney Bibbins was one of two Green Wave players to come off the bench to score a team-high 13 points but none were bigger than her two free throws with 10.2 seconds left to play to ice the Tulane University women's basketball team's 66-64 overtime win over LSU on Sunday afternoon at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Bibbins' freebies capped a 9-0 Tulane run that saw the Green Wave turn a 62-57 deficit with 2:43 to play into a 66-62 lead just over two and a half minutes later. With the win, Tulane improves to 7-1 on the year and remains undefeated in non-home games as the Green Wave are now 5-0 in contests played away from Devlin Fieldhouse. The victory was also the third in a row for Tulane against LSU and the Green Wave extended their winning streak against in-state foes to 15.
"It is always exciting coming back and winning at home," Bibbins said. "There are always a bunch of fans at home. I was a little nervous at first. I did kind of shake out of it...I haven't been shooting very well from the free throw line and I was a little nervous, but I knew that I needed to knock these down. I just relaxed and focused."
With the score knotted at 53-all at the end of regulation, the two teams traded baskets to open the extra period before LSU got a three-point play from Bianca Lutley and a pair of free throws by Theresa Plaisance to go up 60-55. Tulane made it a three-point affair when sophomore forward Tiffany Dale laid one off the glass, but a Lutley layup on the ensuing possession kept it a five-point ballgame.
From there, senior wing Janique Kautsky got the run started with a layup, and sophomore guard Jamie Kaplan tied the game at 62-62 with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:29 to go. Dale put the team on top for good with a layup the next time down the court and Bibbins' free throws put the game away. LSU got a Lutley layup with one second left on the clock, but Tulane was able to in-bound the ball and run out the clock to send a sizeable Green Wave fan section home happy.
"First of all I am just really proud of my team," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said. "I thought that we fought out of a hole. At the end we had some opportunities, turned the ball over and then came back and played really good defense. LSU's offense is just so effective and efficient and we really challenged our players defensively and wanted to hold this game to under 70 points. I thought that was the key for us and our success."
Tulane held LSU - which entered the game hitting 42.0 percent of its shots while averaging 71.2 points per game - to a .358 clip (24-of-67) and just 10 field goals in both the first and second halves. Despite facing five Lady Tigers who stand at least 6-1, the Green Wave out-rebounded LSU 53-46 and turned 23 offensive rebounds into 12 second-chance points. The Wave hit just 33.8 percent of their field goal opportunities against LSU, but got hot when it counted as Tulane was 5-of-8 in the overtime period.
Bibbins shared the Tulane scoring lead with sophomore guard Danielle Blagg, who had three 3-point baskets and a trio of rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench, and was one of three players to post double-digit scoring totals as senior forward Brittany McDonald added a career-high 11.
Dale paced the squad with 10 rebounds and shared team-high steal honors with Kaplan and senior guard Olivia Grayson with four thefts each. Grayson and sophomore forward Adesuwa Ebomwonyi had a pair of blocks apiece, and Kaplan tied a career high with a game-best seven assists.
The tone for the slugfest was set early on as the two teams traded the first 20 points and sat tied at 10-10 halfway through the first half. Blagg broke the deadlock with a jumper and Tulane led by as many as six at 22-16 with 2:39 to play before halftime. LSU cut the deficit to one twice before the break, but McDonald nailed a baseline jumper with 29 seconds on the clock to send Tulane in the locker room on top 26-23.
The Lady Tigers opened the second half with an 11-6 run to take a 34-32 lead 5:01 in the frame and later used a 7-0 run over a span of 4:11 to turn a 40-40 tie into a seven-point lead. LSU guard Adrienne Webb hit one-of-two free throws to give the home team a 50-44 edge with 4:35 to play in regulation, but the Green Wave outscored the Lady Tigers 9-3 the rest of the way to send the game into overtime.
Kautsky got the run going with a 3-pointer and Tulane sandwiched layups by Bibbins and Dlae around a jumper by LSU's Danielle Ballard to make it 52-51 with 1:06 to go. A Ballard free throw pushed the Lady Tigers' lead to a pair, but Bibbins and McDonald both hit one free throw each in the final minute to set up the extra-period dramatics.
"I think the one thing is that a rivalry is not a rivalry unless it is close and there are good games every time you play," Stockton added. "I know that Coach Caldwell had said some things about it earlier in the week. We are just down the road. It has been very competitive between the programs the past couple of years. It is always going to be close. The program here is a real quality program. For us to come in and win here is a really good win for us."
Plaisance led LSU with a game-high 24 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks. Lutley and Ballard each scored 13 for the Lady Tigers while Lutley, Ballard and Jeanne Kenney share team-high assist honors with three assists each. Ballard, Kenney, Plaisance, Webb and Derreyal Youngblood share the LSU lead with two steals apiece.
Tulane returns to action on Dec. 19 when the Green Wave play host to Louisiana-Lafayette at 11 a.m. in Devlin Fieldhouse. That will be the first of a six-game homestand as Tulane will play North Texas on Dec. 22, host the Tulane/DoubleTree Classic on Dec. 29-30, battle Loyola on Jan. 7 and open the Conference USA portion of its schedule against SMU on Jan. 10.
For tickets to those contests, 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.