photo by James Taylor

Golden Hurricane starts strong, but sputters

Student writer James Taylor covers the Golden Hurricane falling 64-60 to the ECU Pirates despite dominating most of the game.

Despite holding the lead for 35 minutes of the 40-minute game, Tulsa fell to ECU Saturday afternoon. The game marked Senior Day for three Tulsa players as they closed out their career with the Golden Hurricane.

Jasmine Butler, Tyjae’ Scales and Crystal Polk all started for the Golden Hurricane for the final home game of their career. Despite the effort put in by the Golden Hurricane, they would see another late lead diminish as they lost 64-60 to ECU.

The first quarter started off with Polk scoring an easy bucket in the paint with the assist from fellow senior Scales.

The senior scoring would continue with Butler being fouled after getting an offensive rebound. Butler would sink one of her two free throws to give the Golden Hurricane a 3-0 advantage.

Scales would also get a chance at two free throws following a foul and would also sink one of her two free throws to give the Golden Hurricane a 4-0 lead with all three seniors scoring to start the game.

Scales and Butler were subbed out at the 5:44 mark in the first quarter with the normal starting five for Tulsa returning to the floor.

The first quarter finished off hot for Tulsa as they went on a 7-3 run to take the lead 17-13, getting buckets from Rebecca Lescay, Polk and Morgan Brady.

Kendrian Elliott dominated the second quarter, scoring eight points and gathering three rebounds for the Golden Hurricane. Elliott was joined by Lescay, Brady and Desiree Lewis as they all contributed points to the effort.

Tulsa went into the locker room at halftime with a commanding 35-24 lead. Tulsa shot 44 percent from the field in the first half while holding ECU to 28 percent. Tulsa looked to be in control as the teams entered the locker room.

Polk and Desiree Lewis both added buckets at the start of the third quarter to stretch the lead to 13 points, the highest of the game. However, ECU would start to slowly chip away at the lead after trading buckets back and forth with Tulsa.

photo by James Taylor

The margin was down to three points with 2:55 left in the third quarter, but Lewis and Lescay added in five points to close out the quarter and give the Golden Hurricane an eight-point advantage entering the final frame.

The fourth quarter started off hot with both teams trading three pointers, but things quickly took a turn for Tulsa. Despite scoring some points, Tulsa went 2-6 shooting to start the fourth quarter while ECU went 5-7 with three treys to tie the game at 57 with 3:09 left.

Tulsa added two free throws from Alexis Gaulden to give them the lead again, but ECU immediately equalized with a layup in the paint. ECU then added another three pointer for the 62-59 lead, the first time they held the lead all game.

Desiree Lewis would add another free throw, but another basket by ECU would seal the game at 64-60. Tulsa shot a dismal 15.4 percent in the fourth quarter compared to ECU’s 60 percent.

Lescay lead the way for Tulsa with 15 points, two assists, three steals and six rebounds. Kendrian Elliott and Desiree Lewis both added 10 points in the effort, Elliott with three rebounds and Lewis with six.

Polk finished with nine points and 10 rebounds, just missing out on a double-double for the game. Brady was the only Tulsa player to hit a three pointer, and her two threes were a part of her eight total points. Gaulden led the team with six assists and scored six points of her own.

Tulsa fell to 12-16 on the season and 6-9 in the American Conference. Tulsa finishes its season with an 8-6 record at home (4-4 in conference play). Tulsa currently sits in sixth place in the American conference. If the current standings hold, they will likely play Memphis in the first round of the American Conference Tournament.

However, with the standings so close and only one game left, no position is solidified. USF is currently ahead of Tulsa and holds the tiebreaker, so while they could drop lower, sixth is the the highest Tulsa can finish.

Tulsa returns to action on Monday night in Wichita as they close out the season against Wichita State. The Shockers are currently in last place in the American Conference with a 4-11 record in conference play and 11-17 overall.

photo by James Taylor

Post Author: James Taylor