Basketball takes first spot in regular season

Sports editor Jaralynn Tammi Morellano says the Golden Hurricane ended the season with honor.

The University of Tulsa’s women’s basketball team won the regular season of the American Athletic Conference (AAC) after its 61-56 win against the Tulane Green Wave. On Tuesday, March 5, the Golden Hurricane took the No. 1 seed spot in the AAC tournament. This is the program’s second time in all of school history going to the AAC Championship tournament.

The Golden Hurricane has not been to a regular season tournament in 18 years, the last time being in the 2005-06 season. The win let the Golden Hurricane finish the season with an overall 23-8 record and 13-5 in the AAC. This season’s conference record also ties for the highest conference record in the program’s history which also came in the 2005-06 season.

“It goes without saying just how proud of our players we are,” said Coach Angie Nelp. “We knew this wasn’t going to be an easy game, we knew that Tulane was going to fight back and we knew that this was going to be a tough game on the road for our team. I cannot just say how proud I am of our heart and our toughness down the stretch.”

The outcome was outstanding despite the Golden Hurricane’s rough start to the match. It stole the first points of the game, but the Green Wave was quick to shove 10 points right back. A combined effort from Mady Cartwright and Katia Gallegos would bring the game 9-12 to put the Golden Hurricane back in the game.

Both teams experienced a dry spell until Hadley Periman scored a trey to make the score 12-12 as the game entered the second quarter.

The Golden Hurricane and the Green Wave exchanged the lead. Temira Poindexter, who led the scoring efforts for the 17th time in the season, tied the score 27-27 with a 3-pointer. The game would get brighter for Tulsa as it hit consecutive layups and free throws after a technical by Tulane’s Amira Mabry. These last efforts in the second quarter took the Golden Hurricane to a 33-27 lead going into halftime.

Tulsa continued its drive into Tulane’s territory and executed a 9-0 run to force a full timeout from the Green Wave. Delanie Crawford’s three-pointer at 6:48 brought Tulsa its biggest lead of the game (47-31). This 16-point lead held out until the scoreboard hit 49-33.

The Green Wave went on a scoring run of its own (7-0) to close out the quarter. As the third quarter closed, the score was 53-45 in favor of the Golden Hurricane.

Tulane scored 11 points to start off the quarter as Tulsa’s spark began to die out. The Green Wave worked its way to a two-point deficit and trailed right behind the Golden Hurricane 55-53. Tulsa miraculously held the lead, and Poindexter pulled it through the struggle with her fourth three-pointer of the match.

Tulane would stray for the rest of the game and close in 59-56. The Golden Hurricane stood firm, and a pair of free throws from the reliable Crawford put Tulsa past the finish line in the last 12 seconds.

“Not everything went our way offensively. We missed some shots. We had to get those defensive stops. We had to get those rebounds,” said Nelp. “So many 50/50 balls that we dove on there at the end of the game. I’m just so proud of our total team effort.”

The Golden Hurricane’s strong finish rewarded them with a double-bye. Tulsa will see action on Monday, March 11, at 1:00 p.m. EST.