Krystal Freeman tallies 17 points, 20 assists in Tulane win over ECU
NEW ORLEANS – American Athletic Conference play began for the Green Wave women’s basketball team on Saturday, and Tulane opened league action by showing it will be a force to be reckoned with this year.
Krystal Freeman had her third double-double of the season – which she had already reached at halftime – and the Green Wave dominated ECU 68-57 at Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicates.
Tulane (11-3, 1-0 The American) got 17 points and a career-best 20 rebounds from Freeman while pummeling ECU (9-5, 0-1) to the tune of a 55-35 edge rebounding. Freeman’s 20 rebounds – she had 10 offensive and 10 defensive boards – were one shy of tying a Tulane record and were the most rebounds in a game for Tulane since Brett Benzio’s 20 on March 11, 2011.
Freeman’s numbers were far from the only highlights of the game. Sophomore Kaila Anderson tied her career high with nine assists, matching ECU’s entire team. In a very balanced scoring game, Sierra Cheatham and Harlyn Wyatt also had double-figure scoring with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Cheatham also led the team with three steals, and Ksenija Madzarevic had three blocks off the bench in just eight minutes. Junior Maddison Wells had her best showing of the season, scoring 7 points off the bench in a second quarter that saw the Green Wave open up its big lead.
The Pirates had a tough start to the game shooting, making just one of their first nine field goal attempts. The Green Wave took advantage of the Pirates’ poor shooting, jumping out to an early 8-0 lead and eventually expanding that lead to 11 points at 15-4.
ECU had its best stretch of the game from there, cutting Tulane’s lead to 20-13 early in the second quarter. But after that, the period belonged to the Green Wave. Freeman ended a long scoreless stretch with a driving layup, Wells converted an and-1 layup on an inbounds play, and Dynah Jones got a fast-break layup after that to make it 27-13 and end the Pirates’ threat.
Tulane ended the second quarter with an 8-0 run including three baskets from Freeman to take a 41-21 lead into halftime, and the sophomore had a double-double at the break with 15 points and a to-that-point-career-best 12 rebounds.
ECU threatened briefly late in the game, cutting Tulane’s lead to as few as 11 points. But the threat was never really serious as Tulane built the lead back up to 17 points before a late final surge by ECU with the game well out of reach.
Cheatham reached her 300th career point in the game, and Anderson had her 150th career point.
Tulane will begin its road conference schedule on Tuesday when it heads to Philadelphia to take on Temple. The Green Wave and Owls are set for a 6 p.m. central tipoff.
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