There was little the Tulane Green Wave could do about South Florida’s Courtney Williams in Tuesday’s American Athletic Conference game at Fogelman Arena.
Williams, a senior guard who leads the conference in scoring, had 31 points, including a driving layup as she crashed to the floor, as the Bulls took a 71-67 victory.
“She’s such a dynamic scorer, I don’t think anybody has figured out how to stop her,” Tulane coach Lisa Stockton said. “But I’m so proud of our team. We showed we can go toe-to-toe with anybody. We’ll just keep getting better.”
Tulane had battled back from a 66-60 deficit in the final minute to tie the score at 67 on a 3-pointer by point guard Leslie Vorpahl with 14.7 seconds left before Williams’ drive.
The Green Wave had a chance to tie again, but guard Kolby Morgan was stripped of the ball with two seconds left after driving into the lane, although it appeared she was fouled.
And, with No. 19-ranked South Florida playing without the conference’s leading rebounder. Alisia Jenkins, Williams took up the slack, too, pulling down 13 rebounds, as the Bulls denied the Wave’s bid for a 10-0 home record for the first time since 2003 and, more important, a win against a ranked team for the first time since 2011.
Tulane (12-5) fell to 3-2 in conference while South Florida (11-4, 4-1) bounced back from Sunday’s home loss against Connecticut.
Point guard Leslie Vorpahl led Tulane with 26 points. However, Vorphal, that was mostly out of necessity, as backcourt mate Kolby Morgan, the team’s leading scorer, obviously ailing, scored just 12 points on 3-of-9 shooting. She headed into the fourth quarter with four.
Tulane went into the fourth quarter with a 50-47 lead after Vorpahl sank a 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds left. It came after the Wave battled from a 45-37 deficit with 3:51 left in the third, right after Emery replaced ailing Morgan. Bringing energy to the defense, Emery also had two baskets on the break. Tulane tied the score at 47 on a free throw by Latham with 1:04 left, 22 seconds after Vorpahl hit a 3.
The score was tied at 32 at halftime. However, Tulane had chances to take command of the game. The Wave led by six points in the first quarter and by seven twice in the third, but it was short-lived each time.
Tulane led 27-20 at 6:36 of the second quarter after Taylor Emery hit two free throws and drove for a layup on consecutive possessions. However, fueled by two 3-pointers by Laksa, the Bulls went on a 10-3 run that tied the score at 30 with 3:15 left.