Tulane drops conference opener to UCF, 54-47

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NEW ORLEANS – Tulane women’s basketball team (8-4) dropped its first game of the new year and its American Athletic Conference opener Wednesday in Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse 54-47 to UCF (9-2). The Green Wave held the Knights to just 36 percent shooting in the contest, but only converted on 27 percent of its own shots on the other end of the floor.

With the loss, Tulane has now lost its last three meetings with UCF. Each contest was decided by seven points or fewer. The last time Tulane defeated the Knights came on January 22, 2020, when the Wave won 60-59 at home.

Redshirt senior Krystal Freeman led the offense for Tulane recording 14 points while knocking down 4-of-8 from downtown. She also hauled in 11 rebounds to notch her fifth double-double of the season and the 27th of her Green Wave career. Junior Dynah Jones followed in the scoring column putting up 12 points of her own to go along with two steals.

The offensive glass proved to be the difference in the contest as UCF had 12 offensive rebounds to Tulane’s four in the first quarter alone. Tulane crashed the boards harder in the second half, but the Knights would go on to outrebound the Green Wave 47-41 in the contest.

The Green Wave got off to a slow start in the first, shooting just 30 percent (7-of-23) from the field and 23 percent (3-of-13) from beyond the arc. The Knights didn’t fare much better as they shot 34 percent from the field and held a 13-10 advantage going into the second quarter.

A quick jumper by Irina Parau brought the Green Wave within one to start the second quarter, but Tulane was unable to claim the lead during another low scoring quarter. UCF got the final bucket of the half with 10 second remaining to hit the locker room with a 25-21 lead.

Tulane came out of the break with the first five points of the second half on a fast break layup from Arsula Clark and a three-pointer by Freeman that gave the Green Wave its first lead since early in the first quarter. UCF reclaimed the lead, but Tulane responded quickly to knot the score at 33 with 2:23 to play in the third quarter. However, the Knights closed the frame with seven unanswered points to take a 40-33 advantage heading into the final quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Knights expanded their lead to their largest margin of the game going up 47-37 with 4:13 to play. The Green Wave fought to chip away bringing the score within five twice in the final minutes of the contest. A second chance layup by Mia Heide made it a five-point game for the last time with 50 seconds on the clock, but that was as close as Tulane would get in the final minute as it ultimately fell 54-47.

Tulane had to fight from behind most of the contest as the Knights protected their lead, holding the advantage on the scoreboard for 34:52 compared to just 1:16 for Tulane.

Up next, the Green Wave will welcome the 24th-ranked South Florida Bulls on Wednesday, January 12. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. and will be aired live on ESPN+.

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