Postgame Notes & Quotes
March 9, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - If there is one thing that history shows us, it is that if often repeats itself. On Friday morning in the FedEx Forum, third-seeded Tulane lived up to that adage as the Green Wave earn their third-straight appearance in the Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship title game with a 63-44 semifinal win over host and second-seeded Memphis.
With the win, Tulane improves to 22-9 on the year and will face the winner of today's UTEP/UAB matchup on Saturday, and the winner of that game will receive the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. and will be televised live on the CBS Sports Network. Memphis, meanwhile, falls to 24-7 on the year and will have to wait until Monday to learn its postseason fate
First-team All C-USA honoree Olivia Grayson headlined the Tulane attack with 18 points and 14 rebounds while chipping in with five assists and a trio of steals. Danielle Blagg, the league's Freshman of the Year, was next with 14 points and Janique Kautsky followed with eight. Tyria Snow tied Grayson with a team-best three thefts.
As a team, the Green Wave hit 37.1 percent of their field goals (23-of-62) and held the Tigers to a .283 clip (17-of-60). Tulane out-rebounded Memphis, 50-41, and turned 15 offensive boards into 13 second-chance points. The Wave forced 16 turnovers - including nine via steal - and had 24 points in the paint to the Tigers' 22.
Early on, it looked like the home team would send the crowd home happy as Memphis scored nine of the game's first 12 points and held a five-point advantage at 13-8 with 11:30 to go before the break. Tulane, however, responded with a 5-0 run to tie things up and the two teams traded the next 14 points. With the score knotted at 20-all, Blagg sparked an 11-2 Green Wave run with a 3-pointer to give her team a lead it would not relinquish and Tulane went into the locker room at halftime on top, 31-24.
The Green Wave lead swelled to as many as 19 at 49-30 on a Grayson bucket with 12:12 to play, and Memphis rallied with a 6-0 run before Tulane reserve Jamie Kaplan halted a four-and-a-half minute scoring drought with a layup with 7:35 to go to make it 51-36. From there, Tulane allowed just three more field goals and hit five of its six free-throw opportunities over the final six minutes to keep the Tigers at arms' reach and Katye Magee drained a 3-pointer with 1:47 remaining to account for the final score.
C-USA Player of the Year Jasmine Lee paced Memphis with 13 points and 12 rebounds and second-team all-league guard Brittany Carter was next offensively with 11 points. Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir led all players with six assists and shared the Lonlack shared the team lead in steals with Defensive Player of the Year Ramses Lonlack at four each.