The Golden Hurricane women’s basketball team won tightly contested games against foes Memphis and Tulane.
On Tuesday, Tulsa traveled to Memphis to take on the Tigers. Tulsa jumped out to a quick 6–0 lead, but the Tigers fought back to keep themselves in the game. Memphis pushed to a momentary lead at 14–13, but Tulsa tied the game at 16 and proceeded to take and maintain a lead for the remainder of the first half. The Golden Hurricane was able to expand their lead to a maximum of twelve with five minutes left in the half, and took a ten-point lead into halftime.
In the first half, Tulsa shot 51 percent from the field, including hot shooting 57 percent from the three-point line. They held an 18–8 advantage in points in the paint.
For the beginning of the second half, the teams played a fairly even game, as the Tulsa lead fluctuated between eight and thirteen points. About halfway through the half, however, Memphis started to cut into the lead. As they continued to pressure Tulsa, the Tigers managed to grab a one point lead at 60–59 with three minutes remaining in the game. The Golden Hurricane made a few clutch buckets down the stretch, and came away with a tough 65–62 road victory.
Three Tulsa starters scored in double figures, and Ashley Clark came off the bench to score a team-high 17 points.
Tulsa coach Matilda Mossman had this to say about Clark’s performance: “The reason we have Ashley coming off the bench is because she has been so successful when she enters the game. She is one of the most competitive kids we have.”
Clark also led the team with eight rebounds in the game.
On Saturday, Tulsa hosted Tulane for their senior day game, the final home game of the season. Forward Mariah Turner, guard Kadan Brady and manager Stephanie Medina were honored before the game.
Tulane started the game by scoring the first six points, all from center Chinwe Duru. She scored the first eight points for the Green Wave, as Tulsa had difficulty guarding her in the paint.
Soon after scoring her fourth basket, however, she picked up her second foul of the game and had to sit on the bench for the remainder of the half to avoid being in foul trouble for the rest of the game.
Tulsa struggled to score early on in the first half, as the Green Wave was applying pressure with their 1–2–2 zone. The Golden Hurricane turned the ball over often, and that prevented their offense from getting into a rhythm.
Despite their offensive difficulties, Tulsa was able to play better on defense with Duru off the court, and held a 16–14 lead with eleven minutes left in the half. From there, though, Tulane picked up their defensive intensity again and forced a string of Tulsa turnovers, leading to a 10–0 Tulane run that gave them a lead with six minutes remaining in the first half. Tulsa responded a run of their own that gave them a one-point edge late in the half. From there, Tulane scored the last bucket of the half to take a 28–27 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the second half, Duru was back on the court. She picked up right where she had left off, scoring the first basket of the half.
At thirty seconds left in the game, neither team could manage a lead of more than four points, and multiples deadlocks occurred, such as 34–34 and 45–45. Tulsa guard Kelsee Grovey hit two of her four three-pointers with less than two minutes remaining in the game, helping Tulsa pull ahead of the Green Wave 51–49 with 1:23 remaining and extend the lead to five with 23 seconds left in the game. Tulane guard Kolby Morgan then scored a three-pointer of her own. Morgan had an opportunity to tie the game after the Golden Hurricane turned the ball over on a five-second inbound call. She was then fouled and missed the front end of a 1–and–1 opportunity at the free throw line. Tulsa converted one more free throw and held on for a 55–52 victory.
Coach Mossman had high praise for Grovey after the game, saying, “she was huge down the stretch. It was a great night for our two seniors, Mariah and Kadan, and when a junior steps up for them and does those kinds of heroics it shows the passion they have for their teammates.” Grovey was a large part of the Golden Hurricane’s hot shooting from three-point range, as they shot 7–13 for the game.
With the wins, Tulsa moved into third place in the American Athletic Conference with a record of 16–12 (11–6 AAC). They have the same conference record as fourth-place Temple, but hold the tiebreaker after defeating the Owls earlier in the season. The Golden Hurricane conclude their regular season on Monday at 6 p.m. when they travel to face Cincinnati.
This weekend the women will travel to Uncasville, CT for the American Athletic Conference tournament. With a win on Monday against the Bearcats they would be guaranteed a first-round bye in the tournament.
With the No. 1 ranked Huskies having the first seed, the road to an automatic NCAA berth goes through UConn, in which case winning the championship will be an uphill battle.