FORT WORTH, Texas – As the No. 6 seed Tulane University Women’s Basketball (18-12, 7-9) rallied back from a first half deficit to defeat the No. 11 seed Cincinnati (9-21, 2-14) 61-52 and advance to the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Championship. The Green Wave used a 20-point third quarter the take its final lead before closing out the game from the free throw line where it shot 23-of-27 on the night.
Kyren Whittington led the offensive attack for the Wave with a game-high 18 points with 11 of those coming in the first half. Dynah Jones followed with 15 points to go with six rebounds, one steal, and one block. Rounding out the top scorers for Tulane was Rachel Hakes with 13 points including nine in the fourth quarter all from the free throw line.
Tulane took advantage on the glass and at the charity stripe to come away with the first-round victory. The Green Wave outrebounded the Bearcats 45-32 and made 16 more free throws in the contest.
Malea Williams was the only player for Cincinnati to post double figures in scoring finishing with 12 points along with five rebounds and five blocks.
Tulane took the early advantage behind the aggressive play of Whittington in the opening frame as she scored the Wave’s first five points. Scoring slowed down for the Green Wave in the final five minutes of the first quarter due to turnovers which the Bearcats scored nine points off to put Tulane down 9-14 at the end of the first.
Whittington stayed on the attack to open the second quarter helping the Wave cut the deficit down before tying it on an and-one bucket by Anijah Grant with 8:15 on the clock. Cincinnati responded to reclaim the lead before the teams went back-and-forth the remainder of the frame with Tulane heading into the locker room trailing 22-26.
The Green Wave hit the floor with urgency to begin the second half surging for a 9-4 run to take its first lead since late in the first quarter. The Green Wave shot 50 percent from beyond the arc in the frame with Jones knocking down a pair to outscore the Bearcats 20-10 in the quarter and take a 42-36 lead into the fourth.
In the final frame Tulane used the charity stripe to push its advantage to as many as 12 points. Hakes led the way to put the game on ice in the fourth shooting 9-of-10 from the free throw line as the Green Wave secured the 61-52 victory to advance in the AAC Tournament.
Up next, the Green Wave will face the No. 3 seed East Carolina in the quarterfinals of the AAC Championship on Tuesday. Tipoff between Tulane and the Pirates is set for 8 p.m. CT from Dickies Arena and will be aired live on ESPN+.