NEW ORLEANS –Junior Jessica Freeman scored a game-high 16 points and sophomore Kelva Atkins added 15 for UNCW, but Tulane used a 22-6 run over a seven-minute span to take control of the contest and defeat the visiting Seahawks, 73-58, in collegiate women's basketball action Sunday at Devlin Fieldhouse.
In the first meeting between the two programs, The Green Wave improved to 6-1 overall while the Seahawks, playing their fourth road contest in five games to start the season, slipped to 1-4 under first-year Head Coach Adell Harris.
Freeman and Atkins paced a UNCW lineup that shot 41.5 percent from the floor, but was unable to overcome 18 turnovers and a 50-32 rebounding disadvantage. Freshman Dana Brown joined the duo in double figures with 10 points while sophomore Jovana Mandic added eight and senior Tawanna Lee chipped in seven.
Senior Olivia Grayson and sophomore Whitney Bibbins tallied 12 points apiece to lead three Green Wave players in double figures as sophomore Danielle Blagg chipped in 10. Grayson dished out a game-high six assists to highlight a Tulane attack that finished with 21 assists on 27 baskets made. Sophomore Tiffany Dale pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds while freshman Tierra Jones added nine.
Moments after the Seahawks had used an 8-0 spurt to take a 23-21 lead late in the first half, a free throw by Bibbins and a three-point play by senior Janique Kaulsky on the same trip down the floor sparked the game-changing spurt that lasted more than seven minutes and gave the Green Wave a 43-29 advantage with 16:49 remaining in the contest.
UNCW attempted to get back into the contest; scoring 15 of the next 22 points to cap the Green Wave stretch make it a 51-44 contest with 10:52 on the clock. Tulane would answer the Seahawks push, however, taking advantage of a 14-2 run over a three-minute span to build its largest lead of the game, 65-46.
The Green Wave maintained a comfortable margin the rest of the way, leading by no fewer than 15 points over the final 6:49 of the contest to record the 15-point triumph.
Earlier in the contest, a fastbreak layup by Atkins with the score 7-5 in favor of the Green Wave sparked the Seahawks to six straight points and an 11-7 advantage.
The Green Wave responded to the UNCW run, rattling off 14 of the next 19 points to build a 21-15 cushion with 8:07 remaining in the opening frame.
Atkins would once again ignite the Seahawks charge, using a layup to end the Green Wave run and lead the Seahawks to eight unanswered points and a 23-21 advantage moments before Tulane's game-changing spurt.
UNCW returns to action Dec. 5 as it hosts Charlotte in a 5 p.m. matinee at Trask Coliseum. The game will serve as the first half of a doubleheader with the men's program taking on Coker at 8 p.m. Tulane is back in action Dec. 9 with a 3 p.m. contest at state foe LSU.