PHILADELPHIA, Pa – After being locked in a defensive struggle through 25 minutes, the Green Wave offense finally broke out of its rut.
Leading Temple by just 4 points midway through the third quarter at McGonigle Hall on Tuesday night, Tulane women’s basketball closed the period on a 15-0 run that spurred the team to a 66-57 victory. Before its run, Tulane (12-3, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) was ahead just 38-34 over Temple (4-10, 0-2) with both teams turning the ball over and shooting poorly. But after the third quarter media timeout, the game belonged to the Wave.
Sierra Cheatham hit a 3-pointer with 3:40 left in the third, and Tatyana Lofton followed that with a 3-pointer of her own 17 seconds later. That gave Tulane a 44-34 lead – its first double-digit lead of the game – and forced a Temple timeout.
But after the timeout, Lofton scored 2 more points on free throws,Krystal Freeman hit a jumper and a free throw, Lofton added another layup and Kaila Anderson made two free throws. In just under four minutes, Tulane turned a 38-34 lead into a 53-34 lead at the end of the quarter.
Temple fought hard to get back into the game in the fourth, but the Green Wave built its lead as large as 21 points before the Owls started hitting 3-pointers. Temple made four 3-pointers in the final seven minutes, but the game was already out of reach. Temple shot just 20.7 percent from 3-point range, making 6 of 29 attempts.
Tulane is now 2-0 in league play for the first time since 2014-15, the first year it joined The American.
Topping the Green Wave in scoring was two-time-defending American Athletic Conference Player of the Week Krystal Freeman. She put 15 points on the board and added three rebounds and two assists on Tulane’s first two made baskets of the game.
Also scoring in double figures were Lofton, Cheatham and Anderson with 11, 10 and 10 points, respectively. All 11 of Lofton’s points came after the midway point of the third quarter as she was a huge spark in the Green Wave’s 15-point run.
Cheatham set a new career high with nine rebounds, and Anderson led the way with seven assists.
Senior Meredith Schulte also had a tremendous game for Tulane, dropping 7 points and grabbing six boards for season highs in both categories. Her final rebound of the night became the 400th of her Tulane career. Classmate Harlyn Wyatt had a strong night as well with 9 points and five rebounds and tying for the team lead with two steals.
The first half saw neither team able to get much momentum as turnovers and missed shots plagued both offenses. The Green Wave had 12 turnovers in the first half and Temple coughed the ball up 11 times. Tulane also allowed Temple to grab nine offensive rebounds including two off missed free throws, and those extra possessions gave the Owls 4 more points.
The Green Wave offense was led by Freeman at halftime with her 8 points, and Cheatham had 6.
The Green Wave will stay on the road this weekend, heading to Dallas to take on SMU and looking for its first 3-0 start to league play since 2010-11. The Mustangs and Green Wave are scheduled for a 12 p.m. tip Saturday.
Article courtesy of Tulane Sports Information Department.