The Golden Hurricane women’s basketball team won their season opener against University of Missouri Kansas City 80–70 on Friday night, the first time they’ve started the regular season out with a win since the 2009-2010 season seven years ago (which was against UMKC as well).
The Golden Hurricane finished the game with double-digit points: juniors Liesl Spoerl (17) and Erika Wakefield (21) and freshman newcomer Kendrian Elliott (11).
Tulsa started out the game shooting 64-percent from the field through the first 10 minutes of play which led to an extremely contested first quarter. There were seven different lead changes in the first ten minutes, but the Kangaroos edged out the Golden Hurricane 23–22 at the end of the quarter.
Junior guard Ebony Carter made a three-pointer at the start of the second quarter to retake the lead for the Golden Hurricane who maintained that lead throughout the entire second frame. The Golden Hurricane outpaced the Kangaroos 15–10 in the second quarter and took a 37–33 lead into halftime.
UMKC came back from the break playing lights out, as they went on an 18–8 run to start the second half and led by as many as six points late in the third quarter. Tulsa recovered thanks to sophomore Crystal Polk who made four free throws at the end of the quarter to bring the Golden Hurricane within four points at the end of the quarter.
Tulsa went on a run of their own to start off the fourth quarter, quickly taking the lead back from UMKC. The Golden Hurricane outscored the Kangaroos 29–15 in the final quarter to take a ten-point win on the road.
After the game head Coach Matilda Mossman discussed the motivation that the team had to get a win to open up the season.
“I am excited to be able to come here a get a win to open the season, and knowing that we hadn’t won since beating them in 2009 was my motivation.”
She went on to address the back and forth nature of this game as well.
“Basketball is a game of momentum changes and I felt like it just kept going back and forth tonight. Once we had the surge in the fourth quarter, I felt better, but it was never out of reach for either team.”
The win capped off an exciting week for the women’s team, who also signed two recruits to national letters of intent earlier in the week. The Golden Hurricane signed Rebecca Lescay and Krystan Vornes.
Lescay is a guard from Plano, Texas and Vornes is a forward from Osceola, Ark.
Mossman spoke at the press conference.
“We are absolutely thrilled to add these two young women and their families to our Hurricane family. Rebecca will greatly add to our guard position with her leadership, her work ethic and her ability to get to the basket. Krystan is a rebounding machine who has a high motor and will fill a void we have at the 4 position. Both of these student-athletes are leaders on their teams and in their schools, and we look forward to them making a huge impact on Tulsa Women’s Basketball. Today is a great day for our program.”
The women’s team will continue their road trip at Kansas State on Monday and Oral Roberts on Thursday, before returning for a one-game homestand on Sunday when they will host South Dakota.