Dec. 19, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - Redshirt-sophomore forward Whitney Bibbins scored a career-high 25 points but it was not enough as the Tulane University women's basketball team dropped a 65-64 overtime decision to Louisiana-Lafayette on Wednesday afternoon in Devlin Fieldhouse.
The Green Wave led by as many as 15 in the first half, and were on top in the waning seconds of both regulation and overtime. The Ragin' Cajuns, however, got a 3-pointer by Sylvana Okde as the second-half horn sounded to send the game to overtime and a trey by Brandi Schambough with 3.1 seconds remaining in the extra period to provide the winning margin.
With the loss, Tulane falls to 7-2 on the year and saw its winning streak against in-state opponents snapped at 15. UL-Lafayette, meanwhile, earned its first win against the Green Wave since 1991 to improve to 6-5 overall.
"They made some great plays but we had some opportunities to finish them," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said. "Offensively, I thought we took some bad shots, we didn't hit them, we missed one-and-ones, we missed free throws and they got every (key) rebound. We didn't get a lot of offensive rebounds down the stretch and that was a key.
"They made two great plays - one to put it in overtime and one to win. They made great plays, but opened the door to give them those opportunities. We've got to do a better job of answering the challenges."
After falling behind by three twice midway through the second half, Tulane used a 6-0 run to turn a 44-41 deficit into a 47-44 lead with 6:32 left to play. A Grayson jumper made it 52-47 just under five minutes later and Louisiana-Lafayette's Jasmin Mills made it a three-point game with a pair of free throws with 1:00 to go. Tulane had a chance to put the game way, but Grayson and fellow senior guard Tyria Snow both missed front ends of 1-and-1 free throw opportunities and Okde made the misses hurt with a running 3-pointer to tie the game at 52-all.
The two teams traded the first eight points of the overtime period and Bibbins scored five straight with a three-point play and a layup to put the Wave on top 61-56 with 2:21 remaining on the clock. An Okde 3-pointer and a Bibbins basket made it a four-point affair and Okde added her seventh trey of the night with 27 seconds to go to make it 63-62. Bibbins was able to hit 1-of-2 free throws the next time down the court to keep UL-Lafayette's hopes alive, and Schambough drained the game-winner on the ensuing possession to account for the final score.
"They came out real aggressive (after halftime), they hit some shots and we didn't," Stockton said. "We turned the ball over. We missed some shots. It was one-and-done and they'd come back down and hit some shots. It was over a period of time but they did it. We've got to be able to counter with some scores, but we just haven't been able to."
Grayson finished second to Bibbins with 10 points and shared team-high rebound honors with her at eight apiece. Snow led the Wave with eight assists while Bibbins and sophomore guard Jamie Kaplan each had a pair of steals. Sophomore forward Tiffany Dale and freshman center Chinwe Duru both had three of the team's season-high 11 blocked shots.
Tulane, which connected at a 44.8 clip from the field in the first half (13-of-29), combined to hit just 10-of-31 after intermission. The Green Wave defense held the Ragin' Cajuns to a 36.1 field goal percentage for the day, but Louisiana-Lafayette was 10-of-24 from beyond the 3-point arc, including a 3-of-4 showing in overtime.
The Wave out-rebounded the Cajuns, 50-32, and turned 19 offensive rebounds into 21 second-chance points. UL-Lafayette, however, forced 21 turnovers - including 17 via steal - and turned the Tulane errors into 26 points.
Okde led UL-Lafayette with 23 points while Robbie Brown added 13. Jasmin Mills and Kia wilridge had nine rebounds apiece, Wilridge handed out a game-high nine assists, and Ashley Benjamin led all players with four steals.
The Green Wave continue their six-game homestand on Saturday, Dec. 22, when they play host to North Texas at 4 p.m. in Devlin Fieldhouse. From there the team will 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 games, 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.