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 50-37 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 and Jamie Kaplan both 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.
Sunday's game marked the first contest for UNCW outside the eastern time zone since taking on South Carolina in Cancun, Mexico on Nov. 29, 2008.
Both Head Coaches in Sunday's contest played collegiately at Wake Forest as UNCW Head Coach Adell Harris (1998-2002) and Tulane Head Coach Lisa Stockton (1982-86) both played for the Demon Deacons.
UNCW shot above 40 percent from the floor for the second consecutive contest. The Seahawks opened the season connecting on just 33.3 percent of its field-goal attempts in its first three games.
Tulane posted a 29-11 advantage in points off turnovers, highlighted by a 15-5 advantage in the first half.
The Green Wave bench outscored the Seahawks reserves, 38-23. It was just the second time this season and the first time in four games that UNCW's bench as failed to out-score its counterparts.
UNCW recorded double-figure assists for the second straight contest as it finished with 13 helpers.
UNCW recorded a season-low three steals as Tulane committed just 10 turnovers in the contest.
Tulane posted an 18-4 edge in second-chance points as it finished with 17 offensive rebounds. The Seahawks finished with just five offensive boards.
The Green Wave was 7-of-18 (.389) from three-point range for the contest while the Seahawks were just 5-of-22 (.227) from beyond the arc.
UNCW shot below 60 percent from the free-throw line for the second straight contest as it was just 9-of-19 (.471) from the charity stripe. The Green Wave was just 12-of-19 (.632) from the line.