Women’s basketball improves to 12-7 as regular season nears end

Jude Papillion, Sports Editor

Since our last update on the Tulane University women’s basketball team, the Green Wave have won five of their last nine games and are now 12-7 on the season. 

After temporarily shutting down operations on Dec. 14 due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the program, the team picked up right where they left off, beating Wofford College 72-62 at home on Dec. 30. The matchup was the Green Wave’s first in 22 days, and the team never trailed during the game. Moon Ursin and Dynah Jones both led Tulane in scoring with 14 points each. Ursin also led Tulane in rebounds with 14, recording a double-double against the Terriers. 

The Green Wave opened American Athletic Conference play against the University of Central Florida on Jan 5., falling to the Knights 54-47 in New Orleans. Krystal Freeman led with 14 points while Jones had 12. Freeman also had 11 rebounds, posting a double-double, while Ursin led Tulane with 15 boards. Tulane’s defense limited the Knights to 35.6% shooting, but the Knight defense crippled the Green Wave offense to just 27% shooting on their end. 

The Olive and Blue dropped another game on Jan. 12, falling to the 24th-ranked University of South Florida Bulls 75-62. Tulane had a hard time stopping USF’s offense, allowing the Bulls to shoot 44.6% from the floor. Two USF players scored over 20 points, as Bethy Mununga and Dulcy Mendjiadeu Fankam scored 26 and 23 points respectively. Tulane had another poor shooting game, converting on just 28.3% of their shots. Arsula Clark led the Green Wave with 17 points, and Jones finished with 16. Freeman nearly recorded a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.

Tulane fell in their third straight game on Jan. 15 in Dallas against the SMU Mustangs. Despite the team’s better shooting performance compared to their last games, at 35%, the Mustangs took the 67-62 win in overtime. Clark finished with 18 points and shot the buzzer-beater that sent the game to overtime. Mia Heide contributed 16 points in the game, and Freeman led Tulane with seven rebounds. 

The Green Wave ended their losing streak on Jan. 17 against the Houston Cougars. The game was originally slated to be played on Jan. 2; however, the matchup was postponed due to health and safety protocols within Houston’s program. Ursin led the way in points and rebounds in the 64-59 road win, scoring 21 and grabbing 13 boards in her double-double performance. Jones and Clark also finished with double-digits, 13 and 10 respectively, as the Green Wave shot 40.4% from the field. 

Tulane and Houston battled closely throughout the contest, but the Tulane women scored the game’s final 7 points after being down by two with 1:46 left in the game. 

Tulane returned to New Orleans on Jan. 19 to face the University of Memphis, beating the Tigers 81-74. Tulane converted on nearly half of their shots at 48.1%, including an impressive 47.1% from the 3-point line. Jones led the Green Wave with 17 points, while Ursin, Freeman, Heide and Clark all scored in the double digits. Ursin finished with another double-double, scoring 16 points and coming away with a team-high 10 rebounds. Ursin also reached 1,000 career points in the win against Memphis. 

The Green Wave turned their previous three-game losing streak into a three-game win streak against Wichita State University on Jan. 22. Tulane handled the Shockers 67-52 at home and opened the second half with a 17-4 run to take control of the game. Tulane wreaked havoc on the Shockers in the paint, scoring 36 points and forcing 12 steals that allowed the Green Wave to convert 22 points off turnovers. Jones led Tulane with 17 points, while Clark finished with 16. Ursin led the way in rebounds with seven. 

Tulane’s brief winning streak came to an end in a closely contested rematch against the UCF Knights on Jan. 26. Tulane scored five consecutive points in the game’s final 32 seconds but failed to score on their final possession in their 69-67 loss

Three Tulane players — Jones, Ursin and Clark — scored in the double digits, and Jones led with 20 points. The Green Wave out rebounded the Knights 34-26, and Ursin led Tulane with eight. Despite shooting a stellar 93.3% from the charity stripe, the Green Wave only shot 37.9% overall compared to UCF’s 54.7% performance. 

Tulane’s most recent contest was a 75-55 blowout victory against East Carolina University on Jan. 29. All five of Tulane’s starters — Freeman, Jones, Ursin, Heide and Kaila Anderson — scored double-digit figures, with Freeman and Jones leading with 14 each. Freeman had another double-double performance, posting 10 rebounds. 

Collectively, Tulane shot 42% in the contest, went 12-15 on field goals in the third quarter  and defended their home court for the third time in a row.

Tulane women’s basketball currently stands at 12-7 overall, including an 8-2 record at home. The team is also 4-4 in the AAC action since beginning conference play early in January. With nine games left in the regular season, the Green Wave is seeking to finish the season strong in order to improve its current fourth-place position in the conference standings

Tulane will face Tougaloo College at 6 p.m. at home on Feb. 2 before embarking on a road trip to rematch USF and Memphis on Feb. 6 and 10. The Green Wave women will return home to face the Cincinnati Bearcats at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 13.