Tulane Women’s Basketball drops overtime heartbreaker to Houston

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NEW ORLEANS – The Tulane women’s basketball team led by as many as 21 points in the first half, but Houston staged a furious comeback to force overtime and eventually win 98-92 at Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon.

Kolby Morgan scored 30 points for the second consecutive game and just missed a triple-double with nine assists and nine rebounds, but it was not enough for the Green Wave to hold on to their large lead.

Houston’s Jasmyne Harris was also just shy of a triple double with 34 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Serithia Hawkins had 25 points and 10 boards for the Cougars in their come-from-behind win.

The game’s key sequence in overtime came with one minute remaining and Tulane holding a 92-90 lead after two Morgan free throws. Houston had the ball and missed three consecutive shots and got three consecutive offensive rebounds. On their fourth attempt of the possession, Hawkins hit an and-1 layup as Meredith Schulte fouled out.

Hawkins missed her free throw, but Houston got the offensive rebound and a foul, and Harris knocked down a free throw to give Houston a 93-92 lead with 31 ticks left on the clock.

Tulane had a chance to retake the lead, but Morgan was called for an offensive foul on a drive – her fifth foul of the game – and Houston shot free throws the rest of the way.

By the end of the game, four of Tulane’s starters (Morgan, Schulte, Harlyn Wyatt, Kaila Anderson) had fouled out, with only Kayla Manuirirangi still in the contest. Houston had just one player foul out, but five others finished the game with four fouls.

The Cougars got to the free-throw line 37 times, sinking 22 baskets from there. They also finished the game with 10 made 3-pointers while the Green Wave was just 3 of 20 from beyond the arc.

Despite the loss, Tulane outrebounded the Cougars 54-36 including a 28-10 edge in the first half.

Comfortably ahead 48-27 early in the third quarter, Tulane (9-7, 1-2 American Athletic Conference) looked as though it would coast to its second consecutive league victory and eighth straight win over the Cougars. But that’s when Houston (14-3, 3-0) started its comeback.

Over the final seven minutes of the third quarter, Houston managed to make up 13 of those 21 points in its deficit. A large chunk of their points came from beyond the arc and at the charity stripe, as they knocked down five 3-pointers in the quarter and made five free throws in the final seven minutes.

In the fourth quarter, Tulane’s 65-57 lead disappeared in three minutes as Houston tied the game at 66-66 on a Harris 3-pointer. From there, the teams traded baskets for the rest of the quarter. Tulane had the final possession with a chance to win in regulation, but a Morgan layup went off the rim.

Manuirirangi had 16 points for Tulane, and freshman Sierra Cheatham had a new career high with 14. Schulte scored 10 points, making Saturday’s game the second in a row for Tulane with four double-digit scorers.

Morgan’s nine assists led the way, but Manuirirangi had eight as well. Besides Morgan’s team-high nine boards, Manuirirangi had eight, Wyatt and Cheatham had six and Schulte had five.

During the game, Anderson got her first career start and scored her 50th career point. Wyatt, who had 8 points, made her 200th career field goal.

The Green Wave got off to a very hot start, using runs of 13-0 and 17-2 in the first quarter to build a sizeable lead. Cheatham entered the quarter late and hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, helping Tulane to a 25-13 edge after one. During that 13-0 run, Houston went five minutes without scoring.

In the second quarter, Tulane again controlled play and had a scoring spurt of 9-0 that further distanced them from the Cougars. The Green Wave outrebounded the Cougars 16-5 in the second quarter.

The Green Wave will play its second consecutive home game next Saturday, hosting new American Athletic Conference member Wichita State at 2:30 p.m.

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