Tulane digs too hole too big early in 73-60 loss at Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Tulane women’s basketball team dug itself a big hole in the first three quarters and could not quite dig out of it in a 73-60 loss against Memphis in Elma Roane Fieldhouse on Sunday afternoon.

With the teams tied at 22-22 after the first quarter, Memphis (8-18, 3-10 American Athletic Conference) outscored Tulane (12-14, 4-9) by a 18-6 margin in the second quarter and extended its lead early in the third quarter to as many as 21 points.

Tulane managed to cut Memphis’ lead to single digits in the second half, making the Tigers’ lead just 66-60 with 2:58 to play. But Memphis closed the game on a 7-0 run as Tulane missed its final 10 attempts from the field.

The Tigers were able to maintain their advantage as they shot 61 percent from the field in the second half and 58 percent in the game. Tulane, meanwhile, shot 30 percent in the second half and 35 percent for the game.

Kolby Morgan led Tulane with 14 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks, and Meredith Schulte also scored in double figures with 12 points despite fouling out. Tatyana Lofton had a team-high four assists off the bench and contributed 9 points in 17 minutes.

The teams played a very even first quarter, with both sides making nine field goals from the floor. They entered the second quarter tied at 22-22, but that’s when Memphis took over.

The Tigers forced the Green Wave into bad shots throughout the second quarter and held Tulane to just 6 total points while shooting 6 of 11 from the field itself. With a narrow 28-26 lead with 5:37 remaining in the half, Memphis went on a 12-2 run to close the period and take a 12-point lead into the intermission.

Memphis got out to a hot start in the third quarter, scoring the first 9 points of the second half. That put the Tigers’ lead at 49-28, a deficit that proved too large for Tulane to overcome.

Despite the size of that deficit, Tulane came close. Three consecutive 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter from Kaila Anderson, Caylah Cruickshank and Morgan helped cut Memphis’ lead to 63-52. And with the Tigers starting to turn the ball over, Lofton hit four free throws, Morgan made a jumper and Cruickshank knocked down a layup to make it just 66-60 Memphis with three minutes still to play.

That’s when the Green Wave went cold for good, missing its final 10 shots. Memphis knocked down three free throws and two layups in the final three minutes to earn its 13-point win.

At game’s end, Memphis had committed 23 turnovers that resulted in 16 Tulane points. But the Tigers outrebounded Tulane 39-31 and tallied 14 fast-break points off seven steals.

Tulane is at home for a huge midweek game on Wednesday, as No. 1 UConn comes to Fogelman in Devlin. Tipoff against the top-ranked Huskies is set for 7 p.m. on SNY and ESPN3.

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