Kelsee Grovey's 18 points led four Tulsa players in double-figures as the Golden Hurricane cruised in the second half to a 74-52 victory over the Houston Cougars Saturday afternoon in front of 838 fans at the Donald W. Reynolds Center. Tulsa improved to 8-9 overall and 3-3 in American Athletic Conference action, while Houston dropped to 6-11 and 1-5 in The American.
Ashley Clark added 14 points and six rebounds, while Mariah Turner had 12 points and Ashley Hughes added 10 points and five assists. Tulsa had 19 assists and forced 18 Houston turnovers, while shooting 48-percent from the floor and 39-percent from three-point range. Tyler Gilbert led the Cougars with 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, as Houston shot just 34-perent from the field and 23-perent from three-point range.
Grovey scored 10 of her game-high 18 points in the second half, while she shot 50-percent from the field and 50-percent from three-point range.
“We talked with Kelsee about being more aggressive, being more confident and setting the tone for the game. I think she did a good job. The first made shot of the game was by Kelsee and when you make that first shot it gives you confidence. Kids aren't confident if they don't make shots,” said Tulsa Head Coach Matilda Mossman.
Leading by seven points at halftime, the Hurricane scored the first three points after the intermission to take its first double-digit lead of the game. The Cougars scored two baskets to cut the lead to six points at 35-29 with 18:27 on the game clock. After getting its 35th point at the 19:50 mark, Tulsa would then score only four points over the next 6:34, but held Houston scoreless for just over five minutes until Gilbert hit a jumper at the 13:16 mark to make the score 39-31.
Jordyn Holmes' three-pointer at the 10:57 mark put the Hurricane up by 11 points at 47-36, and Tulsa would not let its lead slip to single digits from that point on. The Hurricane went ahead by 20 points, 65-45, on two Turner free throws at the 3:42 mark.
Tulsa scored 18 points in the final eight minutes, while holding the Cougars to just eight points in that time span.
Tulsa scored the first points of the game on a three-pointer from Grovey. The Cougars responded on a trey by Mariah Mitchell to tie the score at 3-3. From that point, the Hurricane retook the lead and held the advantage for the remainder of the first 20 minutes, leading by as many as seven points and by as few as one point.
The Hurricane took a six-point lead at 13-7 with 13:44 remaining in the first half on a Kadan Brady three-pointer. The Cougars sliced into the lead several times, cutting the Hurricane lead to one-point three times in the first half with the first time coming at 15-14 with 10:32 on the clock.
Tulsa took its biggest first-half lead of seven points on a Clark jumper at the 4:46 mark to make the score 27-20. Houston scored the next five points to cut the Tulsa lead to 27-25 at the 3:28 mark. The Hurricane closed out the half with five straight points of its own to take a 32-25 lead into the intermission.
At halftime, Tulsa was shooting 50-percent from the field, while holding Houston to 33.3 percent. Three Tulsa players – Turner, Grovey and Clark – led the Hurricane in scoring with eight points each in the first half.
After three straight home games, the Tulsa women go back on the road this week for a Tuesday (Jan. 20) game in New Orleans against the Tulane Green Wave at 7:00 p.m. (CT), and Saturday, Jan. 24th at East Carolina for a 1:30 p.m. (CT) tipoff.
Tulsa returns to the Reynolds Center Wednesday, Jan. 28, to host the SMU Mustangs in a 7:00 p.m. game.