Grambling State won an historical game at Ole Miss by driving to the basket. However, Tulane effectively closed the lanes in the teams' second-round WNIT game Sunday at Fogelman Arena.
The Green Wave clamped down on the Tigers in the second quarter on the way to holding them to 29.3 percent shooting in a 66-49 victory.
“We were just communicating (defensively), fronting the high post, throwing in some traps here and there to throw them off balance,” senior guard-forward Courtney Latham said.
Tulane (18-14) advanced to the tournament's third round for the second consecutive season and third time under coach Lisa Stockton. The Green Wave will play at Alabama, a team it beat at Fogelman in the tournament's first round last season.
Grambling State (19-15), which Tulane beat 79-56 in the season-opener, had won 14 of its past 16 games. Grambling State's win at Ole Miss on Thursday was the first in the postseason by a Southwestern Athletic Conference women's basketball team in the modern era.
“The difference in this game and the Ole Miss game is we didn't make shots,” Tigers coach Freddie Murray said. “When they started trapping on the perimeter, it made a difference. We got behind, and we weren't able to get back in it.”
Offensively, Tulane picked up where it left off in sharing the basketball. The Wave had 19 assists on its 25 baskets and shot 48.1 percent. Four players scored in double figures.
All-conference guard Kolby Morgan, in foul trouble early, scored 15 points in 22 minutes, and fellow all-conference guard Leslie Vorpahl had 13 points and eight assists. Latham had 12 points, her best outing since scoring 12 against Houston on Jan. 14. And, center Harlyn Wyatt had 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
“They are not very big inside, so I had to ask for the ball and finish,” Wyatt said.
She and 6-foot-5 Ksenjia Madzarevic (four blocks) combined for seven of Tulane's eight blocks. The Wave also finished with 11 steals — three each by Morgan and Vorpahl. Tulane held Grambling State to 5-of-28 shooting in the middle two quarters.
The Wave turned to its defense in taking a commanding lead by halftime. Playing a matchup zone that has become a staple at least since the second Cincinnati game, Tulane held the Tigers to 1-of-14 shooting, including 0-of-6 on 3-pointers in the second quarter.
The Wave outscored Grambling State 15-4 in the quarter in taking a 38-19 halftime lead. Good ball movement and seven steals led to assists on 14 of the 15 baskets in the half.
That combined with a blistering first quarter, when Tulane shot 9-of-14 (64.3 percent) in taking a 23-15 lead by its end. The Tigers, however, shot 6-of-14.
Substituting freely, Tulane, began trapping on the perimeter near the end of the quarter, and that made it difficult for Grambling State to run its offense. From that point until near the game's end, drives to the basket were nonexistent.
Tulane went on an 9-1 run and led 49-27 with 3:27 left in the third. Its largest lead was 60-36 with 7:02 left in the fourth.