Wave Comeback Falls Short, Tulsa Wins 70-63

Tulane defense limited Tulsa to a 29.2 mark after halftime (7-of-24). A big reason for that was the play of rookie point guard Ashley Langford, who had four steals after the break

NEW ORLEANS, La.–Junior guard Jami Montagnino scored a team-high 20 points and the Green Wave posted a 36-25 advantage in the second half, but it was not enough as the Tulane University women's basketball team dropped a 70-63 nailbiter to Conference USA foe Tulsa Sunday afternoon at Fogelman Arena.

Down by as many as 20 in the second half, Tulane cut the lead to 12 on several occasions and got within five at 68-63 with 38 seconds to go. Time would run out before the Green Wave could complete the comeback, and Tulsa held on to win by seven. With the loss, Tulane falls to 6-5 on the year and 1-2 in C-USA play. Tulsa, meanwhile, improves to 11-3 overall and 2-1 in league action.

"I have to remind myself sometimes how young we are," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said of her team, which features just one junior, four sophomores and four true freshmen. "Coming off the loss on Friday (78-66 to SMU), we were just pressing too much in the first half and that caused us to have a lot of turnovers. Also, (Tulsa) came out very hot and they were on a roll.

"In the second half, we were a different team. We outscored them – even though our shooting percentage was worse – and it was because of our defense. But I think today's game could help us in the long run."

The Golden Hurricanes shot 50 percent from the field (16-of-32) in the first half, but the Tulane defense limited Tulsa to a 29.2 mark after halftime (7-of-24). A big reason for that was the play of rookie point guard Ashley Langford, who had four steals after the break.

"Ashley was huge in the (second half) charge," Stockton. "She was playing great pressure defense and really picked up the tempo."

Langford fell one assist shy of her second career double-double with 15 points and nine dimes to go along with a pair of rebounds. Sophomore shooting guard Nikki Luckhurst had 11 points, and sophomore forward Jennifer Sands had eight points and 11 rebounds.

Tulsa led by as many as 20 in the first half, and took a 45-27 lead into the locker room at halftime. Tulane cut the lead to 12 less than two and a half minutes in the second stanza, but could not get any closer over the next 11 minutes as the Golden Hurricane answered each Green Wave rally with a scoring streak of their own.

Tulane finally got the game to within single digits with 5:24 to play when Montagnino hit her fifth and final 3-pointer of the game to make it 63-56. The lead went back to 10 on two different occasions, but a pair of free throws and a layup by Sands made it a six point game at 68-62 with 51 seconds to go.

Following a missed basket and a foul by Tulsa, freshman post Kendra Barnes cut the lead to five with a free throw, but that was as close as Tulane would get as Megan Moody sank a pair of shots from the charity stripe to account for the final score.

Moody and Jillian Robbins tied for the Tulsa scoring lead with 15 points each, while EmilyJaskowiak was next with 13. Robbins, the nation's leading rebounder entering the weekend, led all players with 16 caroms. Tandem Mays, meanwhile, had seven of Tulsa's 17 assists.

The Green Wave return to action on Friday, Jan. 13 when they kick off a three-game road swing in Orlando where Tulane will battle C-USA newcomer UCF at 6 p.m. (CST). From there, Tulane will travel to Southern Miss on Jan. 15 before taking its final diversion from league play with a Jan. 21 contest at Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond, La.


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