NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana – Tulane closed the game with a 6-0 streak to fend off the University of Southeast Louisiana, 66-58, in the opener of the 2021-22 women’s basketball season for both teams. Tuesday afternoon at Fogelman Arena.
After a big third quarter that saw Tulane (1-0) turn a four-point halftime deficit into a 13-point lead, Southeastern (0-1) struggled to two in the dying minutes . However, host Green Wave managed to fend off the Lady Lions with a solid fence finish.
“We have to learn from this one”, South East head coach Ayla Guzzardo noted. “We want to be consistent and not let ourselves go too high or too low. We hit some big shots early on their zone, but their pressure really hit us in the third quarter. However, we never stopped fighting, what I’m proud of Overall I liked what I saw of our team and we are happy with our depth and how it will help us down the road. “
Southeastern edged the Green Wave, 32-5, on bench points as the two Lady Lions who scored in double digits were outside the starting lineup. Cierria Cunningham leads SLU with 15 points, while Daija harvey added 10.
Caitlyn williams and Breonca Ducksworth with nine and eight points respectively. Hailey Giaratano punctuated the Southeast with eight rebounds and three assists, while Cunningham contributed three steals.
Four of Tulane’s five starters scored in double digits. Dynah Jones led the green wave with 16 points, followed by Moon Ursin (15), Arsula Clark (13) and Krystal Freeman (12). Freeman and Ursin each took eight rebounds, while Clark was credited with five assists.
Neither team led by more than five in a hotly contested opening period. Southeastern finished the quarter with a 7-2 run with Cunningham hitting a three on the buzzer to allow the Lady Lions to move into the second quarter with a 16-14 lead.
Playing his first match in 622 days, Alexis Horne scored the first bucket of the second quarter and Ducksworth called with his own basket to push Lady Lion’s lead to 20-14. Tulane would not regain the lead for the remainder of the half, as SLU entered the break with a 33-29 cushion.
Williams hit a pair of free throws for the opening points of the second half to reduce the Southeast’s lead to six, but Tulane responded with a 10-0 run to come back to the top, 39-35, with 7:22 to go in the third quarter.
Back-to-back baskets from Horne and Giaratano tied the game 39-39, but the Green Wave continued a 13-0 run with Ursin scoring the last eight points of the rally and giving Tulane a 52-39 lead with 2:43 to play. the third period. Southeastern managed to reduce the lead to single digits and entered the fourth quarter down, 54-45.
Cunningham scored six points in a 7-0 run that saw SLU narrow the lead to 56-54 with 5:24 remaining. While Tulane couldn’t get away, Southeastern just couldn’t get over the final bump. However, the Lady Lions were still in a bucket, shooting 60-58 with 1:26 to go.
It would be as close as the Southeast would get. Jones hit a three on the possession that followed to give Tulane a five-lead. After a SLU turnover, Freeman froze the game with a three-point game with just under a minute to go which provided the final margin.
Tuesday’s game marked the first of two non-conference road games to open the Lady Lions’ season. On Thursday, SLU heads to Texas Tech for a 7 p.m. contest in Lubbock, TX. The game will air on ESPN +.
For more information on Southeastern women’s basketball, follow @LionUpWBB on Twitter, like / SoutheasternWBB on Facebook, and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.
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