Four players scored in double figures to lead Tulsa to an 84-70 win over Valparaiso on Saturday afternoon at the Donald W. Reynolds Center. TU moved to 6-5 on the season, while the Crusaders fell to 2-11 overall.
Ashley Clark had a team-leading 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists, as well as four steals in 30 minutes of play. Kelsee Grovey added 15 points, Kadan Brady came in off the bench and scored 13 and Mariah Turner tallied 12. Liesl Spoerl was one point shy with nine, Stevi Parker had eight points and seven rebounds, and Brady added five steals.
"I think at half time Kadan was the only player in double figures, so Ashley really came in at the beginning of the second half strong," Head Coach Matilda Mossman said. "I like to get more people in double figures like that and I like that kind of balanced scoring. I feel good about our team going into conference play. We have some individuals that need to step up, but if we continue to have lots of weapons it makes us harder to stop. We have to continue to get better defensively and not give up so many things inside."
The Golden Hurricane jumped out to a 7-0 lead with just over two minutes ticked off the clock, but Valparaiso battled back to tie the game, 7-7, at the 15:26 mark. The game was tied two more times (9-9 and 11-11), but Tulsa climbed to a 12-point advantage (29-17) with 4:06 remaining in the half and took a nine-point lead (33-24) into the break.
TU amassed 51 points in the second half, climbing to a game-high 20-point advantage (69-49) with 6:12 remaining in the contest, and earned a 14-point victory.
Tulsa had a 39-36 lead in rebounds and a 15-0 advantage in steals, while Valpo had a 15-14 lead in assists and a 3-1 advantage in blocks. TU scored 36 points in the paint, had 24 points off the bench, 23 points off turnovers and 17 second-chance points.
The Golden Hurricane shot 41-percent from the field, 35-percent from behind the arc and 82-percent from the charity stripe, while Valparaiso was 44-percent from the field, 37-percent from three-point range and 81-percent from the free throw line.
The Crusaders were led by Liz Horton with 20 points, while Charae Richardson scored 18 and Abby Dean added 14. Sharon Karungi pulled down eight rebounds, Richardson had six assists, and Jessi Wiedemann and Faith Miller each had three steals.
Tulsa will return to action on Jan. 8 against UTSA in the Conference USA season opener. Game time is set for 7 p.m. in San Antonio, Texas.