NEW ORLEANS - A memorable season came to an end on Thursday night as Tulane defeated UTA 62-53 in the Women's NIT first round at Devlin Arena.
The Lady Mavericks closed their campaign with a 22-9 record, tied for the third-most wins in program history, and the second best winning percentage (.709). With the final buzzer sounding, two seniors saw the end of their UTA careers. Four-year player Allyson Te'o finished with 111 games played, while two-year transfer Breck Clark departed with 51 games played.
The Lady Mavs remain winless in three trips to the Women's NIT, making their first appearance since 2009. Tulane (17-14) advanced into the second round to face Grambling, who upset Ole Miss earlier in the evening.
Tulane used a 23-8 third quarter, a frame in which had been controlled by UTA all season, to overpower the Lady Mavs. The spurt was helped along by a 16-2 run through the final five minutes of the period. UTA had two foul out, as the Lady Mavs were called for 26 fouls to Tulane's 14.
Cierra Johnson finished second in UTA's single-season steals list with 93 for the season, just one shy of the program's all-time mark. Johnson had two on the night after finishing with seven in the Sun Belt semifinals. Christina Devers led UTA's effort with 15 points, knocking down three of the team's seven treys. Rebekah VanDijk ended with 11 points, tying for a team high in reboundings with six.
Tulane was led by Kolby Morgan, who finished with a game-high 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting.
Devers put momentum in UTA's favor early, as she knocked down a corner 3-pointer to start a 7-2 run to open the game. Tulane answered back with a spurt of its own before UTA would take the lead for the remainder of the first half.
VanDijk was efficient as she converted on three of her first four and UTA had a five-point lead after the first 10 minutes.
The second quarter proved more difficult with neither team finding an offensive stride. The teams had a combined nine points through the first five minutes of the period, UTA hitting on just one of its eight attempts. Tulane was unable to take advantage of the woes, turning the ball over on three of four trips down the floor. Crystal Allen answered the call with a 3-pointer late in the second to send UTA into the break up 28-22.
The Lady Mavs converted on two of their first three field goals to start the third quarter, appearing to be able to match the surge of energy from Tulane. However, the Green Wave got hot from long range, hitting three trey's on the way to a 13-0 run and break its first lead since midway through the first quarter.
Devers was able to break the stretch, but Tulane came right back down the floor and hit a 3-pointer as the third-quarter buzzer sounded. Tulane outscored UTA 23-8 in the third.
UTA trimmed the deficit down to six points midway through the final period, but couldn't claw away any closer.
With UTA struggling to find its offensive stride in the second quarter, Allen was able to knock down a 3-pointer late in the period to put the Lady Mavs up by six. The teams would exchange buckets in the final minute, sending UTA into the half up six.
Tulane stole momentum away through the final five minutes of the third quarter as UTA couldn't find an answer. The Green Wave converted on 9-of-14 field goals, including three from long range, to outscore UTA 23-8 in the period. Tulane put a cap on the quarter to outscore UTA 16-2 in the final five minutes, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
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