Tulane appeared headed for another disappointing loss in the first half of its WNIT game against Texas-Arlington on Thursday.
However, the Green Wave shook off the doldrums with a dominating third quarter on its way to a 62-53 victory at Fogelman Arena.
Tulane (17-14) had lost four consecutive games and seven of its past eight, including a quick ouster in the American Athletic Conference tournament on March 4. And, they trailed by six points at halftime, only to pounce on Texas-Arlington (22-10) with a 23-8 third quarter.
“It's great to be playing again,” Tulane coach Lisa Stockton said. “I was glad to see us in the second half have a different focus. We closed it out pretty strong in that third quarter.”
The Green Wave will host Grambling at 4 p.m. Sunday in Fogelman Arena. The Tigers upset Ole Miss on Thursday. Tulane beat Grambling 79-56 in the season opener at Fogelman.
Kolby Morgan led Tulane with 20 points, including six in the decisive third, and fellow All-AAC guard Leslie Vorpahl scored 13 points – eight in the third on 3-of-4 shooting. However, reserves qShakira Harding, a guard, and Ksenjia Madzarevic, a 6-foot-5 center, both played well in the quarter.
Harding sank a 3-pointer that broke a tie at 34 at the 3:33 mark and launched Tulane on a quarter-ending 11-2 run. Madzarvic played excellent defense against UTA's 6-5 center, Rebekah VamDijk, who went 0-of-3 in the quarter on her way to a 0-of-6 until the last few minutes of the game.
“They stepped up their defense in the third, and our guards didn't help much,” Texas-Arlington coach Krista Gerlich said.
Tulane ended the quarter leading 45-36, and led most of the fourth by 10.
The Wave trailed 28-22 after starting the game looking as though it was feeling the effects of its 12-day layoff from playing a game. The Wave fell into a five-point hole in the first quarter, but came back to 20-17 behind Morgan, who scored 10 first-half points, seven in the first quarter.
Texas-Arlington led 22-18, but back-to-back 3s by reserve guard Crystal Allen and Shelby Richards increased the Mavericks' lead to 28-19 with 2:03 left in the half.
Tulane shot 8-of-22 in the half, including 1-of-6 on 3s. The Wave also turned the ball over nine times against UTA's press, leading to an 11-2 advantage in points off the miscues for the Mavs.
UTA led 18-13 after the first quarter. Morgan shot 3-of-5, but the rest of the team was 2-of-9. The Mavericks shot 8-of-15, with most of the damage by VanDijk (3-of-4) posing low.