Tulane Women’s Basketball Forces Overtime, Comes Up Short in Houston

(Photo by Jason O'Brien/Getty Images)

HOUSTON – The Green Wave women’s basketball team put up a tremendous fight to force overtime after trailing by 9 with 2:49 left in the fourth quarter, but Houston was 1 point better in overtime for an 83-82 victory at the Fertitta Center on Wednesday afternoon. Tulane got a career-best 27 points from sophomore Krystal Freeman and a career-best 14 points from classmate Kaila Anderson as the pair scored 18 of Tulane’s 22 fourth-quarter points.

Down 70-61 with less than three minutes left, Tulane (15-11, 5-8 American Athletic Conference) went on an 11-0 run that saw the team take a 72-70 lead over Houston (14-11, 8-5) with seven seconds left on the clock. Freeman and Anderson were Tulane’s only scorers in the 11-0 run, and Anderson got a gigantic offensive rebound and was fouled with 18 seconds left. She made two free throws, giving the Green Wave its first lead since midway through the third quarter. But with 0.8 seconds remaining in the game, Houston’s Angela Harris knocked down a long 2-pointer from the left wing, sending the game to overtime.

In the extra period, Tulane took a 74-73 lead on a Freeman jumper, but Houston followed that with a 6-0 run to take a 79-74 lead with 1:59 left. Sophomore Sierra Cheatham responded with a 3-pointer to cut Houston’s lead to 3, but two Harris free throws extended it back to 5.

Freeman and Houston’s Serithia Hawkins exchanged layups in the final minute, and Anderson banked in a desperation 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left on the clock to make it 83-82. But with such a small amount of time left, all Houston had to do was inbound the ball and time expired.

Playing in her home state, Mia Heide had another strong game with 9 points and a team- and career-high 10 rebounds. She also had a career-best four blocks. Tatyana Lofton scored 9 points, and Kayla Manuiriangi and Cheatham contributed 8 apiece.  Freshman Erin Gutierrez led Tulane with seven assists, and nine different players scored for the Green Wave.

Houston did a large amount of its damage at the 3-point line, as Dorian Branch and Octavia Barnes drained 10 combined 3-pointers as the Cougars built up leads.

Tulane shot very well from the floor, posting its second-best field goal percentage of the season at 55 percent. But turnovers were costly as the team coughed the ball up 21 times that turned into 21 Houston points. Houston wound up taking 11 more field goal attempts than Tulane as it grabbed 12 offensive rebounds to Tulane’s four.

Things went Houston’s way in the early going as the Cougars forced four Green Wave turnovers in the first three minutes and took a 10-2 lead as Tulane took a timeout. After that, though, the first quarter belonged to Tulane. The Green Wave went on a 12-0 run over the final 5:30 of the quarter to take a 14-10 lead into the break.

The run began with a Cheatham 3-pointer and continued with a Cheatham jumper, a Freeman jumper, a Kaila Anderson 3-pointer and two free throws from Freeman.

In the second quarter, Branch was on fire, draining four 3-pointers to give the Cougars an edge. Tulane shot very well, though, staying with the Cougars and trailing by just 2 at halftime.

It was Barnes’ turn in the third quarter, as she made four 3-pointers of her own. Tulane could not keep up that time, trailing by a then-game-high 9 points entering the fourth quarter.

The game seemed all but over with the Cougars leading 67-54 early in the fourth, but Freeman and Lofton scored 7 straight Green Wave points to make it 67-61 with 4:43 left. Houston got the next 3 points, but that’s when Freeman and Anderson went on their 11-0 run to get the game to overtime.

During the game, Freeman scored her 400th career point, Anderson scored her 200th career point and Manuirirangi made her 100th career 3-pointer.

Tulane will honor its seniors on Sunday when SMU comes to Fogelman in Devlin. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Article courtesy of Tulane Sports Information Department.

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