NEW ORLEANS - Sophomore Olivia Grayson had 12 points and the Green Wave defense forced 22 turnovers as the Tulane University women's basketball team defeated Southern, 61-31, in the opening round of the 2011 WNIT Thursday evening in Fogelman Arena.
The Green Wave tallied 12 steals and 11 blocks on the night while holding the Lady Jags to a 16.9 field goal percentage (12-of-71). With the win, Tulane improves to 23-10 on the year and advances to take on Oral Roberts in the second round of the WNIT. That game will take place in Tulsa, Okla., but the time and date are yet to be determined. Southern, meanwhile, concludes its 2010-11 season at 20-12.
All 10 Tulane players to see time against Southern scored - a first for the Green Wave this season - and senior forward Tiffany Aidoo joined Grayson on the double-digit point club with 11. Tulane out-scored Southern in the paint 28-14 and had eight fast-break points to the Lady Jags' two.
Grayson also paced Tulane with eight rebounds and four assists while chipping in with three steals. Senior guard Roshaunda Barnes led the Wave with five thefts, and junior center Brett Benzio came off the bench to contribute nine points, seven boards and a game-high five blocks in 19 minutes of work.
While Southern scored the first basket of the night on a layup by Hannah Kador 15 seconds into the contest, Tulane scored the next 13 points and never looked back. Six of the Green Wave's steals and four of their blocks came in the first half as the team went into the locker room at the break on top, 29-9.
The second half was more of the same and Tulane's lead swelled to 31 at 44-13 with 13:54 left to play. Southern made it a 25-point game at 50-25 just over seven minutes later, but the Green Wave scored 11 of the game's final 17 points to account for the final score.
Kador led Southern with seven points while Freda Allen paced the Lady Jaguars with a game-high 14 points while adding a trio of assists. Allen shared team-high steals honors with Adrian Sanders with two apiece.