With guard Kolby Morgan leading the way, Tulane jumped on Troy from the start, built an insurmountable margin and cruised to a 106-75 victory in the opening game of the Tulane Classic on Thursday at Devlin Fieldhouse.
Morgan scored a season-high 32 points on 13-of-21 shooting and had a career-high eight assists along with eight rebounds and five steals. Point guard Kayla Manuirirangi tied her career high with 19 points, center Harlyn Wyatt scored 12 and freshman small forward Sierra Cheatham a career-high 11.
“Everyone was clicking,” said Morgan, who with her 13th point passed Carmen Jones for third place on Tulane's career scoring list. “We made the extra pass, we finished (defense) with rebounds. It was a fun game to play.”
Tulane will play at 3 p.m. Friday in the tournament championship game against Texas-El Paso, which beat Samford 46-33 in Thursday's second game. The Wave has won the past nine Classic titles and 18 of 21.
The 106 points are the fifth-most in program history and the most since 2008, when Tulane scored 108 points at Nicholls State.
Against Troy (5-5), the Green Wave (7-5) shot 58 percent, including 13 of 25 on 3-point attempts. Tulane had 29 assists on 40 made baskets.
And it started right after the tip-off, when Morgan sank a 3 from the left side, launching the Wave on a 10-0 run. The first quarter ended with the Wave leading 34-14, its most points in a quarter this season.
With the Wave easily handling the Trojans' press, Morgan scored nine and Manuirirangi eight, combining to go 5 of 7 on 3s. Tulane shot 13 of 21 in the quarter — getting 11 assists — and went 6 of 9 on 3s.
“They have some very good scorers, and they were shooting very well,” Troy coach Chanda Rigby said. “No. 3 (Morgan) almost had a triple-double. We couldn't just key on her because even their post players were facing up and hitting jump shots from the (free-throw-line) elbow.”
Tulane led 53-31 in a first half that ended with a banked-in 30-foot desperation 3-pointer by Troy forward Amber Rivers. Before that shot, the Trojans were 1 of 13 on 3-point attempts.
The hot shooting was buoyed by defense, as Troy was held to 30 percent shooting.
Tulane was able to stay on track despite center Wyatt and power forward Meredith Schulte both being on the bench with two fouls. With small forward Tene Thompson out with a knee injury, the entire starting frontcourt was out.
However, Morgan had 18 points in the half and Manuirirangi 11. Morgan passed Jones on a free-throw line jumper at 4:56 of the second quarter.
UTEP led Samford 19-9 at halftime and blew the game open with a 23-9 third quarter.
“I'm proud that we held them to 33 points (on 11-of-53 shooting, 3-of-26 on 3s),” Miners coach Kevin Baker said. “We came here for the experience of being in the finals and playing Tulane on their home floor. We'll try to figure out how to guard them. They can score in a lot of different ways, so we'll certainly have our hands full.”