TU women’s basketball starts season strong

Sports editor Callie Hummel gives an update on the season so far.

Tulsa women’s basketball has grown exponentially in just two seasons after a head coach change in April of 2021 to Angie Nelp, and they continue to show their improvement with every game.

Prior to Nelp’s arrival at Tulsa, the team had not seen a winning season since 2014-2015. They ended their 2020-2021 season on an eight-game losing streak with a 4-13 conference record. With the help of Nelp, her newly appointed coaches, and the new group of recruits the team acquired, the program has quickly become one of the most successful teams at The University of Tulsa.

Last season, the team amassed a 17-11 record and is continuing to improve from this number in their current season. They now sit with a 14-3 record and are undefeated in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) with a 4-0 record. To get this position in their conference, they recorded wins against East Carolina, Wichita State, UCF and Houston.

Their matchup against Houston was the most recent of their games, played at home on Jan. 14. Although the teams remained extremely close throughout the entirety of the game, Tulsa stayed ahead and eventually won the game 70-68.

Winning this game was a major success for Tulsa. Houston was a team they struggled to beat last season, always coming up a few points shy. In their final game against Houston last season, the final score was 64-65. Pulling through and taking the win against Houston shows how the team has improved between seasons, possibly foreshadowing the coming wins against other teams they had previously been unable to beat.

This win also allowed them to tie the school record for most consecutive home games won, with 10 straight so far. Tulsa has won every single game played at home this season. Their next home game, and their opportunity to beat the record, will come on Jan. 25 against South Florida. Similar to Houston, Tulsa came up just shy of winning against South Florida last season with a final score of 63-66.

Tying the school record for home games won isn’t the only notable achievement by the women’s basketball team this season. During their Jan. 7 game against UCF, fifth-year guard Maya Mayberry shot a three-pointer that allowed her to surpass 1,500 career points. Mayberry has been an integral part of the team’s success with her prolific scoring every season. She was able to return for a fifth year because of the NCAA’s extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview after their UCF game, Coach Nelp stated “The teamwork we have is unbreakable.” In college sports, it can be hard to get into a rhythm with a team as there are always players leaving and new ones arriving. Tulsa has standout upperclassmen, but the team is younger than most others. Out of the five starters, Bittle, Crawford, Mayberry, Poindexter and Young, only Mayberry and Bittle are seniors while the other three women are freshmen or sophomores.

Having a generally younger team that already has so much success and a head coach that seems to have had a momentous impact on the program suggests longevity to their achievements.

Post Author: Callie Hummel