FAU's three-point shooting was too much for Tulsa as the visiting Owls scored a 91-86 victory in front of 527 fans at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Saturday afternoon.
FAU set a Reynolds Center record for three-pointers made as the Owls converted on 13-of-38 three-pointers against the Hurricane, breaking the previous mark of 12 three-pointers. FAU senior Kimberly Smith scored a game-high 33 points, while establishing a Tulsa opponent record with nine treys. The Owls' 91 points was the second-most allowed by the Hurricane this year. FAU entered the game with 173 three-pointers and ended the day with a school record 186 treys.
Two Tulsa players registered career-highs for points as Kelsee Grovey led the Hurricane with 24 points, followed by Mariah Turner's career-best 19 points. Ashley Clark added 17 and Kadan Brady scored 11 points. Tulsa freshman Stevi Parker had her second straight double-figure rebounding game with 11 boards. This marked the second straight home game in which Grovey scored a career-best, as she tallied 23 points against #25 Middle Tennessee in Tulsa's last home game.
"We had four people in double figures, two with career-highs, scored 86 points, shot 47-percent and had 17 assists," said Tulsa Head Coach Matilda Mossman. "When you look at what we did offensively we were really good, but that won't win you ball games if you don't guard anybody. More of half their attempts were three-point attempts and we couldn't get out kids to contest it."
"Kimberly Smith got off to a great start and never cooled off," Mossman said. "It wasn't like we didn't know going in that she was a terrific three-point shooter, but we just could not get anyone in her face. We were a good foot off her every time."
Tulsa broke a halftime tie on a Grovey three-pointer at the 18:27 mark to take a 44-41 lead, while Brady's three-pointer with 15:03 remaining gave Tulsa its last lead of the game at 53-51. FAU's Smith knocked down her sixth three-pointer of the game with 14:50 remaining in the contest to put the Owls ahead 54-53, and beginning a 19-6 run that gave FAU its largest lead of 11 points at 70-59 with 9:59 left on the game clock.
Tulsa could only get as close as five points six more times the remainder of the contest including the final margin in the 91-86 loss. Grovey hit a three-pointer at the 4:25 mark to cut the FAU lead to five points the first time, 78-73, but whatever spark that had given the Hurricane was silenced 26 seconds later on Smith's seventh three-pointer of the game to put FAU back ahead 81-73.
Through the first 20 minutes of the game Tulsa scored 26 points in the paint, but FAU connected on six three-pointers for 19 points as the two teams battled to a 41-41 halftime score. For the game, Tulsa had a 46-30 point edge scoring in the paint, while FAU's bench out-scored Tulsa's 33 to 12.
The two teams totaled seven lead changes in the first half. Tulsa scored the first two points on a Clark jumper, but didn't take their next lead until 12-11 on a Turner layup at the 15:18 mark. During the next 4:16, the lead changed hands three more times until the Hurricane knotted the score at 21-21 with 11:02 remaining.
Tulsa built an 11-point lead over the next six minutes by out-scoring FAU 14-3, taking a 35-24 lead with 5:02 left on the first-half clock. Liesl Sproel came off the bench to score six points during that stretch for the Hurricane, while Grovey and Erika Lane knocked down three-pointers.
FAU outscored the Hurricane 13-2 in less than two minutes to knot the score at 37-37 with 2:30 on the clock. The two teams ended the first half with two baskets apiece and were tied at 41 going into the intermission.
Tulsa's Turner was 5-of-5 from the field in the first half and scored a team-high 13 points, followed by Clark's nine points. For the Owls, Smith connected on 5-of-7 treys for 15 points through the first 20 minutes.