Kelsee Grovey's two three-pointers in the final 1:23 gave Tulsa a five-point lead and the Hurricane held on for a 55-52 victory over the Tulane Green Wave Saturday afternoon at the Donald W. Reynolds Center. A crowd of 500 braved the snowy conditions to see a hotly contested game that saw the Hurricane move to 16-12 overall and 11-6 in the American Athletic Conference. Tulane fell to 20-9 overall and 11-7 in the league.
Grovey's trey at the 1:23 mark put the Hurricane up by two points at 51-49 and a second three-pointer from 25-feet out gave Tulsa its largest lead at five points, 54-49, with 0:27 remaining in the game. Tulane responded on a Kolby Morgan three-pointer at the 0:18 mark, trimming the deficit to two points.
A five-second call against Tulsa put the ball back in the hands of Tulane and after a Hurricane foul, Morgan missed the first of a one-and-one, keeping Tulsa ahead 54-52. Morgan had another chance to tie the game, but missed a jumper at the 0:04 mark and after a Tulane foul, Tulsa's Antoinet Webster made 1-of-2 free throws to give Tulsa a final victory margin of three points at 55-52.
Grovey ended the game with a team-high 15 points, while senior Mariah Turner totaled 11 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals in her final game at the Reynolds Center. The only other Tulsa senior, Kadan Brady, ended the day with three points, four assists and two steals in 36 minutes. The Green Wave was led by Chinwe Duru's 15 points, while Tiffany Dale added a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
“I think I'm going to watch that shot Kelsee Grovey took from nearly half court about 10 times tonight,” said Head Coach Matilda Mossman. “That was unbelievable. The resolve that kid has to step up and take that shot and nothing but net. It was huge. She was huge down the stretch. It was a great night for our two seniors, Mariah and Kadan, and when a junior steps up for them and does those kinds of heroics it shows the passion they have for their teammates.”
Tulsa shot 45-percent from the field and 54-percent from three-point range, knocking down 7-of-13 treys, while Tulane hit 42-percent from the field, but just 13-percent on 2-of-15 from behind the arc. The Green Wave out-scored Tulsa in the paint 30-20, but the Tulsa bench outscored the Tulane bench 21-8.
It was a game that saw 13 lead changes with the contest tied five times. Tulsa turned the ball over 23 times, but the Green Wave only converted those miscues into 15 points. The Hurricane had a 31-to-26 edge on the glass.
Leading 28-27 at halftime, Tulane's Duru scored the first basket of the second half to give the Green Wave a three-point lead at 30-27, which was the largest lead for either team until Grovey's trey at the 0:27 mark gave the Hurricane its five-point lead.
Tulane began the game by scoring the first six points before Ashley Clark knocked down a three-pointer from the right corner for Tulsa's first score.
Turner's layup put the Hurricane ahead for the first time, 15-14, at the 11:55 mark. Grovey made 1-of-2 free throws to give Tulsa a 16-14 lead before the Green Wave scored the next 10 points to make the score 24-16 at the 6:35 mark.
Another layup by Turner at the 5:51 mark ended Tulsa's drought and began a Hurricane run of 11-4 over the next 3:42. Neither team scored in the final two minutes of the first half.
Turner and Grovey led the Hurricane in the first half with seven points apiece, while Duru and Jamie Kaplan led the Green Wave with eight points each. Tulane scored nine points off of 13 first-half Tulsa turnovers.
Tulsa closes out the regular season at Cincinnati on Monday, March 2, before the American Athletic Conference Tournament, March 6-9, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.