Tulane’s Kolby Morgan became the third player in team history to score 2,000 career points, but Wichita State’s strong play in the paint propelled the Shockers to a 64-56 win.
Three players scored in double-figures for the Shockers as forward Rangie Bessard scored a team-high 18 points, along with nine rebounds. Cesaria Ambrosio chipped in with 13 points and guard Diamond Lockhart added 11. With the win, the Shockers claimed their first road win of the season and their second American Athletic Conference win in a row.
Wichita State coach Keitha Adams said the Shockers had a tough task of dealing with a well-coached Tulane team and the offensive threat of Morgan.
“First off, I have so much respect for Lisa Stockton. We’ve had some great games against each other. There’s so much respect between her and I,” said Adams. “Kolby Morgan is just a phenomenal player. If you go 1-on-1 against her she’ll make you pay.”
Despite the loss, Morgan had a game-high 26 points, adding five rebounds. The senior guard set the milestone with a step-back 3-point buzzer-beater at the end of the first period.
“It’s a good feeling, but getting it on an L it doesn’t really mean much to me right now,” said Morgan. “It just means you have to get back in the offense and do more work, not just me individually, but us as a team.”
Adams credited the teams’ success to spreading the ball around the perimeter which opened up more opportunities inside, as 34 of the Shockers’ points came in the paint.
“We’ve learned for our team that our offense is a lot better when we move the basketball,” said Adams. “We’ve been challenging our kids to make certain percentages. We’ve spent a lot more time shooting the ball.”
Tulane coach Lisa Stockton said her team didn’t play physical enough to get the win.
“We had 20 turnovers, we missed six free throws that were really critical at times. I think we could have been a little more aggressive,” said Stockton. “I think this really stings because I felt like we were making progress. Tonight I thought we had an opportunity for some other people to step up and that’s probably the biggest disappointment.”
Wichita St. moves to 7-12 (2-3 AAC) in conference and Tulane drops to 9-8 (1-3) on the season. With the win, Adams said the win will help the team as they continue to establish their identity.
“I think were figuring out who we are and how we got to play and what we got to do to have success,” said Adams. “We just have to play with tremendous passion and we have to play hard. That’s something that we have to do every day.” We’re just trying to build each day and get better and I’m really proud about how we played today.”