Surprising Tulane women sink 13 threes in defeating UTSA, 75-64

Tulane Amira Mabry

Forward Amira Mabry, a Tulane sophomore from San Antonio-area Judson High School, scored 15 points Sunday to lead the Green Wave to a 75-64 victory over the UTSA Roadrunners. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

College basketball sometimes is just a crazy game. Sometimes, up is down and down is up. That might be one explanation for what happened Sunday afternoon at the Convocation Center.

The Tulane Green Wave women entered the matinee at UTSA with an 0-4 record in their four American Athletic Conference road games. UTSA came in 4-0 at home in the AAC.

So, what happened? Tulane knocked down 13 three-point baskets, held UTSA to 39 percent shooting and emerged with a 75-64 victory.

Elyssa Coleman. Tulane beat UTSA 75-64 in American Athletic Conference women's basketball on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Elyssa Coleman led the charge for UTSA with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Coleman scored nine in the fourth quarter when the Roadrunners made a push to get back in the game. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Amira Mabry, a Tulane sophomore from Judson High School, led the Green Wave with 15 points. She hit six of eight from the field, including two of three from the three-point arc.

For Mabry, the day was made all the more special given she had fans cheering her on from one section of the West Side seating of UTSA’s home arena.

“It felt like a home game,” Mabry said. “You know, this is the first time that I’ve been able to play in front of my whole family and support system since I’ve been in college, and it just felt really good.”

Guard Marta Golic led five Tulane players with multiple three-point baskets made with four. Mabry, Kaylah Rainey, Chiara Grattini and Kyren Whittington sank two apiece.

Another factor in the outcome turned out to be Tulane’s zone defense and its effect on UTSA’s offense, particularly early in the game.

Struggling to find a rhythm, the Roadrunners shot 4 of 19 from the field and turned it over five times in the first quarter. In the second period, the UTSA shooters did a little better, making 5 of 12 afield. Nevertheless, the offense continued to falter with another five turnovers for a maddening total of 10 in the half.

By that time, Tulane really started get hot from the perimeter. The Green Wave hit six triples in the second period and took a 36-23 lead into intermission.

Aysia Proctor. Tulane beat UTSA 75-64 in American Athletic Conference women's basketball on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA freshman guard Aysia Proctor played well, producing 14 points, four rebounds and three assists. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“I think when we play together and communicate and work together, our zone (defense) is really our man,” Mabry said. “That’s just a big asset that we have.”

For the Roadrunners, a good sign for the program emerged with an announced crowd of 990 turning out on a sunny weekend afternoon in February.

UTSA coach Karen Aston thanked the fans for their support and said she wished her team could have played better.

“It just seemed to be one of those days that we didn’t have our best in us,” she said. “I didn’t think we had a sense of urgency about us, but I think Tulane played really, really well.

“I think sometimes you have to give some credit to your opponent and how they played the game. They shot the ball really, really well and we just didn’t have an answer for them today.”

Center Elyssa Coleman led the Roadrunners with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman guard Aysia Proctor scored 14 points and Sidney Love 10. UTSA finished with 26 of 66 shooting (for 39.4 percent) and 17 turnovers.

The Green Wave, who shot 55.1 percent for the game, played particularly well in the middle two quarters. They led by 18 at the end of the third period and by as many as 22 in the fourth.

Idara Udo. Tulane beat UTSA 75-64 in American Athletic Conference women's basketball on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Surrounded by defenders in the paint all afternoon, forward Idara Udo had eight points on four of eight shooting. – Photo by Joe Alexander

For UTSA (11-10, 5-5 in the American), the loss was a tough way to open the second half of the conference schedule after winning games in the first half against the Charlotte 49ers, the South Florida Bulls and the North Texas Mean Green.

The Roadrunners had beaten North Texas, the leader in the American, in overtime on Wednesday. A victory over Tulane would have elevated them into a six-way tie for fourth place. Instead, they fell back to ninth.

For Tulane (10-11 overall, 3-7 in the American), the victory represented a step forward. Last Sunday, the Wave lost at home to Temple by 18 points for their fourth straight loss. Since then, they have pushed ahead, winning at home against the 49ers on Wednesday and now on the road against the Roadrunners.

Records

Tulane 10-11, 3-7
UTSA 11-10, 5-5

Coming up

UAB at UTSA, Sunday, Feb. 11, at 1 p.m.

Karen Aston. Tulane beat UTSA 75-64 in American Athletic Conference women's basketball on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Karen Aston’s Roadrunners had notched victories over Charlotte, South Florida and North Texas in conference before they fell on Sunday to the hot-shooting Tulane Green Wave. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Notable

UTSA outrebounded Tulane 39-21, including a 22-6 margin on the offensive glass. Coleman was a force on the offensive boards with nine. UTSA finished the game by hitting only six of 22 from the three-point arc. Tulane sank 13 of 28 triples.

First quarter

Much to the Roadrunners’ chagrin, the Green Wave scored the last eight points of the period and took an 11-10 lead after the game’s first 10 minutes.

Guard Marta Galic sparked the outburst with two threes, one from the top of the arc and the other from deep off the left wing.

Tulane’s zone defense was effective, limiting UTSA to 4 of 19 shooting from the field. The Roadrunners also turned it over five times.

Second quarter

Tulane’s inspired play at the end of the first period carried over into the second. The Green Wave hit eight of 13 from the field and knocked down six of of nine from three-point distance.

In the last three minutes, Tulane made four straight three balls to take a stunning, 36-23 lead on UTSA’s home court.

First, Kyren Whittington dropped back-to-back triples on the Roadrunners. Later, to end the half, Chiara Grattini did the honors with two straight.

All told, Tulane knocked down nine triples in the first half. Defensively, the Green Wave executed a zone defense that held the Roadrunners to nine of 31 shooting for 29 percent.

Third quarter

Even though the Roadrunners started off well, with Kyra White and Proctor making consecutive three-pointers to trim the lead to Wave’s lead to seven, Mabry and Galic answered with consecutive triples of their own to push the lead back to 13.

Later, UTSA constructed a 7-0 run capped by Siena Guttadauro’s corner three. When Guttadauro’s shot found the mark, UTSA was within eight with 4:27 to go. But Tulane promptly went on a 12-2 burst to take a 56-38 lead into the final period. Galic knocked down two threes in the streak.

Ivy-Curry sinks game-winning shot as UTSA edges Tulane, 89-88


UTSA’s Jordan Ivy-Curry inbounds to Christian Tucker, who brings it up court. After a handoff, Ivy-Curry launches the game-winning, three-pointer with two seconds remaining. – Video by Joe Alexander.

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Three days after scoring 38 points on the 23rd-ranked team in the nation, UTSA guard Jordan Ivy-Curry struggled to get anything going Wednesday night against the Tulane Green Wave. “Throughout the whole game, I couldn’t hit a shot,” Ivy-Curry said. “I just had to stay confident.”

In the game’s final, frantic moments, Ivy-Curry’s calm demeanor paid off. He took a hand off from Christian Tucker and sank a three-pointer from the right wing of the arc with two seconds left, lifting the Roadrunners to a pulsating 89-88 victory over the Green Wave.

Carlton Linguard Jr. UTSA beat Tulane 89-88 in American Athletic Conference men's basketball on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Carlton Linguard Jr. (No. 2) scored a career-high 31 points on 10 of 16 shooting from the field and six of 10 from three-point range. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“I just knew it was going in when I shot it,” Ivy-Curry said. “I had put a lot of work in, (so) I knew the game was going to come back to me.”

After Ivy-Curry hit the mark on his shot, Tulane had one last chance with 2.3 seconds left. An announced crowd of 1,281 at the Convocation Center erupted in cheers as UTSA intercepted a three quarters, length-of-the-court pass.

It was over. The Roadrunners (8-12, 2-5) had snapped a troublesome four-game losing streak with their most prominent victory of the year, thanks in large part to the play of center Carlton Linguard Jr., who carried his team offensively and defensively for most of the night.

The 7-foot-1 center from Stevens High School notched a double double with a career-high 31 points and 10 rebounds. He also had three blocks. The Green Wave (12-7, 3-4) had no answer for Linguard, who scored 20 in the second half.

Linguard hit 10 of 16 shots from the field and six of 10 from three.

“Carl showed up big-time for us,” Ivy-Curry said. “Without him, we wouldn’t have won. He kept us in the game. He hit some tough shots. He rebounded for us. He blocked a lot of shots for us today. I appreciate Carl.”

Tulane carried swagger into the game. Last year, the Green Wave broke through with a 20-11 season and a 12-6 record in the American Athletic Conference. It was the second straight winning record in conference for the Wave under coach Ron Hunter. The Wave also brought some momentum in, having knocked off 10th-ranked Memphis, 81-79, on Sunday in New Orleans.

As the game got underway, some of that good energy carried over as the Wave’s matchup zone defense created problems. It held UTSA to 1 for 17 shooting from the 3-point line in the first half. At one juncture, the visitors led by nine with six minutes left.

In the end, it wasn’t quite enough to beat UTSA, though guard Jaylen Forbes and forward Kevin Cross were a problem all night. Forbes sank five triples, while Cross was a constant nuisance, hitting eight of 15 from the field. Both scored a team-high 23 points.

Chandler Cuthrell. UTSA beat Tulane 89-88 in American Athletic Conference men's basketball on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Forward Chandler Cuthrell pulled down a team-leading 11 rebounds as UTSA beat Tulane on the boards, 48-33. – Photo by Joe Alexander

The Roadrunners arrived at the arena with a businesslike attitude, intent on making amends for a 2-8 stretch in which they lost four close games to quality opponents, including overtime losses to Top 25 teams Memphis (107-101) and Florida Atlantic (112-103).

“We needed this one bad,” Linguard said. “We’ve had a lot of close games. We just had to figure out a way to win. We came together today and fought to get the (victory) … Coach kept talking about it. He’s telling us, ‘It’s going to happen. Just believe. Just keep coming to practice. Just keep fighting’ and come with the right mindset.”

UTSA coach Steve Henson was beaming in his postgame news conference, talking about how he enjoyed the night for his players, who have been through some tough times already this season.

“Really happy for our guys,” Henson said. “They’ve been fighting, hanging in there. Attitudes have been terrific. Kept their confidence as a group. We’ve been in several close games. Close games against good teams.

“I mean, Tulane’s a very good team … I think their conference record is a little bit deceiving. They’re a terrific offensive team, (and) what they do on the defensive end creates a lot of stress.”

For the Roadrunners, forward Trey Edmonds finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. Forward Chandler Cuthrell came off the bench for 11 rebounds and nine points in a little more than 13 minutes. Not to be outdone, Ivy-Curry, totaled nine points, five assists and five rebounds. He finished 3 for 13 from the field and 1 for 7 from three.

Good thing for UTSA his only three-point make was the last one of the night.

First half

Following an officials review after the teams left the floor for halftime, the Roadrunners were awarded two additional points.

Tulane coach Ron Hunter. UTSA beat Tulane 89-88 in American Athletic Conference men's basketball on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Tulane coach Ron Hunter enjoyed a 20-11 season with a 12-6 record in the American Athletic Conference last year. His team was picked third earlier this fall in the 2023-24 preseason poll, and it had just defeated 10th-ranked Memphis on Sunday. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Initially, officials decided that a tip-in by Linguard in the last minute was interference inside the cylinder. After the review, Linguard was awarded the basket and the two points.

As a result, the Tulane Green Wave had a 41-40 lead on the Roadrunners at the break.

Flummoxed from the beginning by Tulane’s matchup zone, UTSA couldn’t get anything going from the 3-point arc. The amoeba-like defense covered up all the primary shooting areas behind the arc, leaving UTSA to shoot only 1 for 17 from distance.

At the same time, the Roadrunners did some things well, such as get themselves to the free-throw line. From there, they knocked down 11 of 13 and used their accuracy to stay within striking distance throughout the half.

Tulane had a 38-29 lead with 3:30 remaining when Kevin Cross knocked down a jumper from the side. Cross turned to face the UTSA players on the bench and ran downcourt. If he said something to the Roadrunners, it may have lit a fire.

UTSA promptly went on an 11-3 run to the intermission buzzer.

Records

Tulane 12-7, 3-4
UTSA 8-12, 2-5

Coming up

UTSA at South Florida, Saturday, 3 p.m.

Trey Edmonds. UTSA beat Tulane 89-88 in American Athletic Conference men's basketball on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Trey Edmonds dunks two-handed and takes a blow from an opponent. from behind. No foul was called. Edmonds finished with 11 points and eight rebounds as the Roadrunners beat the Tulane Green Wave by one. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Steve Henson: It’s time to suit up in the fight against cancer

Steve Henson. UTSA lost to 23rd-ranked Florida Atlantic 112-103 in overtime in American Athletic Conference men's basketball on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Steve Henson says he remains committed to the cause of raising cancer awareness. His Roadrunners host the Tulane Green Wave tonight. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Earlier this week, UTSA coach Steve Henson delivered a poignant message on the importance of “Coaches vs. Cancer – Suits and Sneakers Week.”

It’s a week when basketball coaches nationwide join together to promote the importance of raising awareness and generating funds for research into the nature of a disease that still does not have a cure.

I have always admired the coaching fraternity for doing this.

But, somehow, the effort rings with a little more clarity for me going into tonight’s UTSA home game against the Tulane Green Wave.

In the past few years, cancer has taken so many people close to me, it’s been almost like a bad dream.

My mom. My friend, Ken Burmeister, the former head basketball coach at UTSA and the University of the Incarnate Word. Also, a few close allies from my days at the downtown newspaper.

All of that is why coach Henson’s message on video sort of slapped me out of my comfort zone and made me think.

“This week,” Henson said in his message, “I suit up for my dad. My father’s overcome several types of cancer in his lifetime, and he’s cancer-free today. But we still have a lot of work to do.”

On Tuesday afternoon, I asked the coach about the video. He responded by relating how the National Association of Basketball Coaches remains committed to the effort after 30 years.

“Suits and Sneakers weekend, it’s been a big deal for the NABC and Coaches vs. Cancer for years,” Henson said. “(We’ve) raised a lot of money, raised a lot of awareness. Covid affected it. Coaches stopped wearing suits during Covid, (and) a lot of coaches haven’t gone back to it.

“We just didn’t want to let it lose its significance, because it’s such an important cause. So the (UTSA) coaches will wear suits and ties with our sneakers and hopefully will give it as much media attention and social media attention as we can, and keep fighting for a cure.”

Henson’s dad is a special guy, by all estimations. Mike Henson was a longtime high school basketball coach in Kansas. He was also Steve Henson’s coach, at McPherson High School.

“He was a freshman coach when I was growing up,” the coach said. “As soon as he got out of college, he got the freshman coaching job. There was a legendary high school coach there at the time, Jay Frazier, and they had won a bunch of state championships.

“So, I grew up watching my dad coach the freshman team. Every single game. I’d walk from grade school to the junior high … The year that I became a freshman, he moved up to the JV spot, so I didn’t play for him as a freshman.

“He got the (varsity) job my sophomore year, so I played for him for three years.”

Henson noted that his father “enjoyed a ton of success,” but he added with a wry grin that, “I didn’t help him much.”

“He won three state titles or four state titles after I left. My brother (Brian) was a part of three of those,” Henson said. “(My dad) had a great, great career there. He’s in the Hall of Fame in Kansas. Just a really good coach.”

For the record, Mike Henson was inducted into the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2009, the same year, incidentally, that Steve Henson went into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

After playing for his father, Steve starred four years at Kansas State and later played in the NBA. Henson has been UTSA’s head coach for eight seasons.

“The town I grew up in was a really good basketball town,” Henson said. “When we were growing up, we heard about the state championships. Coach Jay Frazier won three state titles in the ’70s. We’d see those guys around town.

“On Wednesday nights, we’d go to McPherson College and play pick up, and those guys would come in and just tear us up, talk trash. We had pretty good records my three years (at McPherson). We didn’t win it. But my dad and my brother, they both won a bunch of ’em.”

Asked about playing for his father in high school, Henson paused and said simply, “It was a dream come true for both of us.”

Mike Henson has been cancer-free for several years now, his son said.

Tonight, Steve will be thinking about him again prior to UTSA’s 7 p.m. tipoff against Tulane. Also, the coach of the Roadrunners, who also serves on the national council of Coaches vs. Cancer, will be reminding anyone who will listen to be more aware.

To get tested.

“One of the things that happened during Covid is, people stopped getting screened, and cancer rates skyrocketed,” Henson said.

“Now,” he added, “one of the big things we’ve talked about for the last few years, there’s a lot of people who need treatment that don’t have rides. Think about that. How can that be?

“The treatment is there but people aren’t getting it because rides aren’t there?”

At that, the coach arched his eyebrows. I could see the passion in his expression. I could sense his fervor for the cause. Maybe, after hearing from the coach, it’s time we all suited up.

Coming up

Tulane at UTSA, Wednesday, 7 p.m.
UTSA at South Florida, Saturday, 3 p.m.

Records

Tulane 12-6, 3-3
UTSA 7-12, 1-5

Notable

Forward Kevin Cross and guards Jaylen Forbes and Sion James will lead Tulane into tonight’s game at the Convocation Center.

James had 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists Sunday in an 81-79 victory over No. 10 Memphis. In Tulane’s first victory over a top ten program since 1983, Cross had 21 points for his eighth 20-point game of the season. The Green Wave is coached by Ron Hunter, in his fifth year at the helm.

UTSA is coming off a 112-103 home loss in overtime Sunday against the 23rd-ranked Florida Atlantic University Owls. Of the Roadrunners’ four straight losses, two have come to nationally-ranked teams in overtime. The other was a 107-101 setback at then 13th-ranked Memphis on Jan. 10.

Against FAU, UTSA guard Jordan Ivy-Curry lit it up for a career-high 38 points. UTSA leads the American Athletic Conference in threes per game (10) and attempts per game (29.1). The Roadrunners rank 10th in the nation in long-distance attempts and 16th in makes.

Sam Houston State downs Tulane, stays alive in the Baton Rouge Regional

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay

Finishing a game that started on Saturday, the Sam Houston State Bearkats remained in the hunt in the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional on Sunday, eliminating the Tulane Green Wave from the tournament, 10-2.

Sam Houston led 7-2 with two out in the top of the seventh on Saturday afternoon when play was suspended because of weather issues. Tulane had the bases loaded when players were waved off the field. In the re-start that commenced at noon on Sunday, pitcher Logan Hewitt shut down the threat, coaxing Tulane into an inning-ending ground ball.

In the bottom of the eighth, Bearkats’ slugger Josh Wishkoski put the game out of reach with a three-run homer to center field.

The Bearkats, now 1-1 in the tournament, will face either LSU or Oregon State Sunday night at 8 p.m. The loser is eliminated, while the winner will advance to the finals.

Schedule updates: Sam Houston State-Tulane to resume play at noon Sunday

Inclement weather on Saturday forced officials to reschedule games in both the Baton Rouge and Fayetteville regionals.

Lightning in the Baton Rouge area caused the Tulane-Sam Houston elimination game to be suspended. The game will re-start at noon Sunday in the top of the seventh inning with Sam Houston holding a 7-2 lead.

It’s an early elimination game in the bracket, with both teams 0-1 in the regional. The LSU-Oregon State winners bracket game, with both teams 1-0, has been rescheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday. LSU is the national No. 5 seed.

In Fayetteville, officials have rescheduled the TCU Horned Frogs and the national No. 3-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks to play at 2 p.m. Sunday in a winners bracket game.

Both TCU and Arkansas are 1-0 in the four-team regional and are hoping to move ahead in the double-elimination format unscathed.

The winner will advance to Monday’s regional title round. The loser will play Santa Clara at 8 p.m. on Sunday night. On Saturday, regional No. 4-seeded Santa Clara ousted Arizona, 9-3.