Tulane Women’s Hoops wins sixth straight; set to face #3 UConn Wednesday in New Orleans
Green Wave on their longest winning streak since 2010-11
DALLAS – Kayla Manuirirangi had been quiet on offense for the last few games.
Not on Saturday.
The Green Wave junior knocked down five 3-pointers and tied for a team high with 17 points while the Tulane defense was smothering in a 61-43 victory at SMU in Moody Coliseum.
Tulane (13-3, 3-0 American Athletic Conference) got at least one 3-pointer in each quarter from Manuirirangi against SMU (6-10, 0-3), and the Green Wave defense didn’t let the Mustangs score more than 12 points in a single quarter.
SMU shot just 30 percent shooting from the field during the game, and Tulane forced the Mustangs into 23 turnovers that resulted in 23 Green Wave points.
Tulane has now won eight consecutive games against SMU, and the Green Wave are 3-0 in conference play for the first time since the 2010-11 season. Saturday’s win marked six consecutive victories for Tulane, the first time Tulane has won six in a row since Nov. 28-Dec. 30, 2015.
Krystal Freeman tied Manuirirangi for the team lead with 17 points against the Mustangs, and seven other Green Wave players got on the scoreboard. Manuirirangi reached her 400th career point in the second quarter with that late 3-pointer.
Harlyn Wyatt led the way with seven rebounds and an impressive four blocks, and Mia Heide had 5 points and five rebounds in her home state of Texas.
Sophomore point guard Kaila Anderson had another tremendous game passing the ball, racking up eight assists and adding three steals with excellent defense.
Despite the 18-point margin in the final score, the game was much closer than that early on.
After struggling to get on the board for the game’s first 15 minutes, Tulane got its offense going late in the second quarter. SMU had no answer for clutch 3-pointers from Manuirirangi, who scored the final 6 points of the half – including a 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining – as Tulane turned a 20-16 deficit into a 27-20 halftime lead with an 11-0 run.
The run began with a free throw from Mia Heide and continued with a fast-break layup for Jones and a Schulte jumper that rolled in off the rim. That’s when Manuirirangi made her mark on the game, draining two 3-pointers in the final two minutes to balloon the Green Wave lead to 7.
In the span of that 11-0 run, SMU committed eight turnovers and missed six consecutive field goal attempts.
But in the third and fourth quarters, SMU would not go away. The Mustangs pulled within 2 points at 30-28 after an 8-0 run to start the third quarter, and it took a 7-0 run on two Freeman layups and an Anderson 3-pointer to give Tulane its 10-point cushion back at 39-29.
SMU still fought in the fourth quarter, scoring the period’s first 4 points to cut Tulane’s edge to 41-36. But from there, a 9-0 Green Wave run on 5 points from Manuirirangi, a Freeman jumper and two Heide free throws made it a 14-point lead for Tulane at 50-36. The game was all but over after that.
During Saturday’s win, Freeman grabbed her 150th career rebound and Erin Gutierrez earned her 50th career assist.
The biggest home game of the season is next for the Green Wave, as they will host No. 3 UConn at Fogelman in Devlin on Wednesday. Tipoff between the Green Wave and Huskies will be at 7 p.m.
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