Game 3: Tulane Hangs on to Down Tulsa, 49-44
March 5, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - Brett Benzio posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Ashley Langford dished out a game-high nine assists as host and sixth-seeded Tulane hung on to defeat No. 11 seed Tulsa, 49-44, in game three of the 2009 Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship Thursday evening at Fogelman Arena.
Tulane led 42-21 with 12:00 remaining in regulation, but the Golden Hurricane held the Green Wave to just five points over the next nine-plus minutes to cut the deficit to three at 47-44 with 2:47 showing on the clock. Neither team would sink a basket from the field the rest of the way and Tulane got a pair of free throws from Langford with 11 seconds left on the clock to account for the final score.
With the win, Tulane improves to 18-13 on the year and advances to face third-seeded Southern Miss (18-11) on Friday at 5:30 p.m. The victory also marked career-win No. 300 for 18th-year head coach Lisa Stockton. Tulsa, meanwhile, concludes its 2008-09 campaign at 7-23.
The Green Wave took a quick 10-point lead, holding a 13-3 advantage just under six minutes into the game. Tulsa rallied to tie the game at 15 seven minutes later but Tulane answered with a 12-6 rally the rest of the half to go into the locker room on top 27-21.
Tulane's lead quickly swelled to double-digits early in the second stanza and it appeared as if the Green Wave would cruise to a win as the home team scored the first 15 points following intermission. From there, however, the Tulsa defense did its best late-80s Detroit Pistons impersonation and held the Green Wave to just two field goals the rest of the way. The Hurricane offense, meanwhile, steadily chipped away.
A jumper by Meoshi Bradley got Tulsa to within single digits at 44-36 with 6:20 left in regulation and a 3-pointer by Tatum Beer made it a three-point affair 3:27 later. That, however, would be Tulsa's final point and Langford's shots from the charity stripe accounted for the final score.
Indira Kaljo led Tulane with 12 points - including a pair of 3-pointers to open the ballgame - while Benzio and Chassity Brown tallied 10 points apiece. The Green Wave defense posted 12 steals - four each by Langford and Megan Valicevic - which helped attribute to the team's 22 points off turnovers.
Tulsa's Kara Vaughan led players with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting while Larissa Williams posted a game-best 11 rebounds. Tiffani Couisnard was next in caroms for the Hurricane with nine as Tulsa out-rebounded Tulane, 41-33.