Going against overmatched Florida Atlantic, Tulane's women's basketball team had its easiest, if not most impressive victory of the season.
Pressing the Owls into submission, the Green Wave had the Owls discombobulated offensively from the start in taking a 88-45 victory Wednesday at Fogelman Arena.
“I'm just really happy with the intensity we came out with in the game,” coach Lisa Stockton said. “We are going to be home for three games, and I wanted to make sure we came out really focused for this one.”
Tulane (5-1), which received a vote in the latest coaches poll, went to 3-0 at home with games at Fogelman coming up Saturday against Southern Mississippi and Tuesday against Nicholls State. It was the Wave's first victory by at least a 40-point margin since Nov. 17, 2015, against Jackson State (92-49).
The Wave forced 24 turnovers and had 14 steals, including a game-high five by small forward Sierra Cheatham, whose length at the top of the 2-1-2 press caused problems from the start, as Tulane led 28-15 at the end of the first quarter.
Freshman Dynah Jones scored 19 points, leading five players in double figures. Power forward Krystal Freeman scored 15 points center Harlyn Wyatt and shooting guard Kayla Manuirirangi easch scored 12, and point guard Kaila Anderson had 10 points, five rebounds and five assists.
With all 12 players playing, none more than 22 minutes, the Wave shot 54.6 percent, outrebounded the Owls (2-5) 41-29 and held them to 26.3 percent shooting (15-of-57), including 7-of-35 on 3-pointer attempts. It was the second consecutive game Tulane outrebounded its opponent.
“Our coaches talk to each guard and tell us we need to rebound,” said Anderson, who shot 4 of 4, including 2 of 2 on 3s and was a factor defensively and pushing the pace. “We've been doing that better each game.
“Everything is just clicking, and no one is selfish. Everyone wants to be a team player, and that's helping everything flow right now.”
The Green Wave jumped on the Owls from the start, going ahead by 13 points by the end of the first period on the way to a resounding 51-23 halftime lead.
FAU coach Jim Jabir said Tulane's press, with Cheatham at the top, bothered his young team.
“We have five freshmen who play at lot,” he said. “We practiced against the press for two days, but it was different coming in here under the lights. (Cheatham) is long, and causes problems with the traps. Tulane is a good team.”
Fueled by its trapping press defense, Tulane forced the tempo, which affecting Florida Atlanta to rush its shots. Tulane's press caused 11 turnovers. However, with Stockton substituting a lot to keep fresh players in for the press, the Wave had 10 turnovers.
However, the Owls shot just 7 of 29 (24.1 percent), including 4 of 18 on 3-point attempts. Thanks to the misses, the Wave outrebounded FAU 27-16. Scoring often on the break, Tulane shot 19 of 36 (52.1 percent), including 4 of 10 on 3-pointers in the half.
The game was broken open with a 23-8 second quarter in which Tulane shot 3 of 5 from behind the arc and got to the foul line, going 6 of 6.
Jones led the first-half blitz with 11 points, and Wyatt had 10, However, Anderson had eight points on 3 of 3 shooting, including back-to-backs 3s that gave Tulane a 42-19 lead. Manuirirangi also had eight points and also sank two 3s. However, she also had five assistss in the half.