Wave cruises through second round of WNIT with 66-49 win over Grambling

Tulane women’s basketball (8-14, 7-9 American Athletic Conference) advanced to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament on Sunday after winning against the Grambling State Tigers (19-15, 14-4 Southwestern Athletic Conference) 66-49 at Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse.

The game was a rematch of the first game of the season, ending in a 79-56 victory over Tulane. Against the Tigers, sophomore guard Meredith Schulte made a then-personal best with 20 points, and senior guard Leslie Vorpahl broke the school record for single-game assists with 15.

“I really loved the energy our team came out with,” head coach Lisa Stockton said. “I thought we were really focused. We’ve played this team before, but … we are so different 31 games later.”

Tulane entered the game after winning against Texas-Arlington on Thursday in round one of the postseason tournament. Grambling came into New Orleans after winning 14 of its last 16 games, eliminating projected favorite Ole Miss in the first round.

When the game began, it was a different story for the Tigers. Tulane started the game with two 3-pointers from junior guard Kolby Morgan and Vorpahl. The Wave remained in the lead the duration of the game.

While the Wave shot 42.9 percent from the field, hitting six out of 14 baskets, the Tigers only shot 7.1 percent from the field, only making one out of 14 baskets. At the end of the half, Tulane outscored Grambling 15-4 in the second quarter.

At the start of the third quarter, the Tigers began a 7-2 run before the Wave regained its footing and fired back. Senior guard Courtnie Latham came alive in the second half and ended the third quarter with 12 points, hitting all five of her attempted free throws.

Grambling attempted a comeback in the final quarter and outscored the Wave 16-13 overall during the final 10 minutes, but Tulane would keep the lead until the end of the game as it cruised to victory.

Morgan was the team’s leader in points with 15; Vorpahl finished with 13 and Latham finished with 12. Sophomore center Harlyn Wyatt also scored in double-digits with 11 points and led the team in rebounds with seven, four of which came in the first quarter.

It was a game of turnovers, as Tulane committed 19 and Grambling committed 16. The difference being Tulane’s ability to capitalize on 14 points off turnovers. Grambling finished the game with 8. The Wave also finished with a total of eight blocks, four from sophomore center Ksenija Madzarevic and three from Wyatt.

“At this time of year, you can be tired and sometimes unmotivated,” Stockton said. “I think our team looks tremendously motivated and that makes me feel great about them.”

The Green Wave advances to the WNIT’s Sweet 16, where it will face off against Alabama on Thursday in Tuscaloosa for a chance to make it to the quarterfinals.

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