The Tulsa women's basketball team claimed the third seed in the American Athletic Conference Championship with a 71-58 win over Cincinnati in the final regular season contest on Monday night at the Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio. TU moved to 17-12 on the season and concluded American Athletic Conference play with a 12-6 mark, while UC fell to 7-22 overall and 4-14 in the league. "I didn't think we were on offensively," Head Coach Matilda Mossman said. "We really struggled, but we got huge defensive stops. Kelsee hit some big shots and the key was we hit some free throws late. I am so happy with how we've been competing and what we've been able to do in the last 11 games."
Kelsee Grovey paced the Golden Hurricane with 21 points, while Teanna Reid and Ashley Clark each tallied 13 points, and Mariah Turner, Erika Wakefield and Antoinet Webster each had six points. Clark finished just shy of a double-double with nine rebounds, and added three assists, while Turner had two blocks.
With her basket with 47 seconds left of the half, Clark scored her 1,000th career point at Tulsa. She is the ninth TU women's basketball player to do so, as Jillian Robbins (2003-07; 2,108), Taleya Mayberry (2009-13; 1,742), Larrissa Williams (2006-10; 1,512), Kasie Pittman (1996-2000; 1,322), Lila Osceola (1996-2000; 1,301), Megan Moody (2002-06; 1,122), Carla Morrow (1998-2002; 1,113) and Leela Farr (1997-2002; 1,089) came before her.
Grovey is just four points away from scoring 1,000 career points.
"We knew coming into the season, both had a chance to get 1,000 points in their junior year," Mossman said. "I am excited for Ashley that it is out of the way and it is just a matter of time before Kelsee gets those four points. They have been huge in the development of our program."
TU shot 47-percent from the field, including 33-percent from three-point range, and hit 11-of-14 free throws for 78-percent, while UC shot 37-percent from the field, 35-percent from behind the arc and 68-percent from the charity stripe.
Tulsa had an 8-5 lead in steals, a 13-10 advantage in assists and just 12 turnovers to UC's 17. Cincinnati had a 35-32 lead in rebounds and both teams had two blocks.
The Bearcats were led by Marley Hill with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Makenzie Cann had 12 points and Chelsea Jamison also pulled down 10 boards.
Tulsa climbed to a 12-point lead, 39-27, at the 17:11 mark, but UC fought back to pull within eight at 16:16 (39-31). TU once again pulled ahead by 12 points, but the Bearcats cut the deficit to seven (46-39) with just 12:18 left in the contest and then trailed by only six (53-47) with 9:12 on the clock.
The Golden Hurricane went on a 7-0 run to climb to a 13-point lead, but UC chipped at the deficit to pull to within seven (64-57) with just 3:13 left to play, but TU climbed back to claim a 13-point win.
Tulsa started the game with three missed shots and three turnovers as the Bearcats had a 4-0 lead, but a basket by Kadan Brady at 16:51 and one from Wakefield at 16:11 tied the score at 4-4. Clark hit a jumper about 30 seconds later and TU took the lead. The score was tied again at 6-all, but TU climbed to a 19-10 advantage at 8:57 before the Bearcats went on an 11-0 run to take a 20-19 lead with 5:27 left in the half.
The score was tied four more times and the lead changed twice when Autura Campbell scored a layup at the 2:57 mark to give the Hurricane the lead for the remainder of the game. TU took a 31-25 advantage into the break.
The American Athletic Conference will announce the bracket for the Championship after all the games are completed tonight.