Junior guard Kolby Morgan scored 20 points, senior guard Leslie Vorphal scored 13, and the Green Wave dominated the boards in a 62-53 victory over Texas-Arlington Thursday at Avron B. Fogelman Arena in Devlin Fieldhouse in round one of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.
UT-Arlington lept out to a quick 5-0 lead before Morgan earned Tulane’s first shot of the night after which the Green Wave went on an 8-3 run capped by a layup by sophomore guard Tene Thompson. Morgan led Tulane in first quarter scoring with seven points, as the Wave trailed UT-Arlington, 18-13.
While Arlington’s early foul trouble allowed Tulane to quickly get into the bonus, the Wave struggled at the line throughout the second quarter, converting only 50 percent of its free throws. Morgan was still Tulane’s leading scorer with 10 points as the Wave trailed 28-22.
Tulane started the third quarter with two buckets by Morgan, including a 3-pointer, both of which were quickly answered by Arlington. Once down 34-28, Tulane went on a 14-0 run. A 3-pointer by Vorphal with three seconds left in the quarter pushed Tulane’s lead to 45-36. Rebounding was a key, as Tulane had 11 rebounds in the quarter to four by Arlington.
Arlington started the final quarter with a three to cut the lead to six, and Tulane quickly answered with a layup. Shooting continued to be back and forth between the two teams. Ball control became crucial for Tulane, as the Green Wave took multiple opportunities to grab offensive rebounds and elongate possessions. With Tulane holding a 10-point lead with two minutes to go, Arlington soon began intentionally fouling. Crucial made free-throw sets by Thompson, Vorphal and sophomore center Ksenija Madzarevic kept the Green Wave’s lead strong. Two made free throws by Vorphal with 22 seconds to go put the final nail in the coffin, and Tulane won 62-53.
Tulane next faces Grambling State at 4 p.m. Sunday at Avron B. Fogelman Arena in Devlin Fieldhouse.