Tulsa had a big night of offense as four players finished in double figures in a 79-68 victory against Memphis Thursday night at the Reynolds Center.
Taleya Mayberry led the Golden Hurricane (12-15 overall, 7-7 in Conference USA) with 17 points, Kelsee Grovey scored 16, including three treys, Tiffani Couisnard put up 14 and Mariah Turner finished with 11.
Tulsa took advantage of Memphis’ (16-12, 7-7) low-ranking league defense, thriving with its inside shooting, as well as the arc and the free throw line. But TU also had to stay one step ahead of the Tigers, who lead the conference in scoring offense.
“We’ve struggled to shoot the ball all year long,” Mossman said. “And tonight we got so many opportunities in the paint, whether it was guards in the paint or posts in the paint. When we get the ball in the paint like that, we shoot a better percentage. We started out shooting extremely well and we continued that through the second half."
TU shot 49 percent (28-of-57) in field goals, 36 percent (5-of-14) in 3s and 69 percent (18-of-26) from the foul line.
Memphis was 39 percent (26-of-66) in shooting, 33 percent (7-of-21) with treys and 56 percent (9-of-16) in free throws.
But the Golden Hurricane were outrebounded, 44-32.
The tandem of senior Nicole Dickson and freshman Ariel Hearn, who respectively swept Conference USA Player and Freshman of the Week honors early in the week, led Memphis. Hearn scored 18 points while Dickson made 11.
“They average more points than anybody and they are also one of the top two or three teams in rebounding. We knew those two would be a problem,” Mossman said.
“I’m proud of the way our kids played against Nicole Dickson. I think she is the key to everything they do. She still gets 11, but she had to work really hard and take a lot of shots to get those 11. She got seven of those in the first half, so for us to give up only four points to her in the second half is a tribute to our defense.”
Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir was second in Tiger points with 14.
Tulsa led 40-34 at halftime and often had led by margins as high eight points until a Grovey 3-pointer with 11:02 left upped the advantage to 59-48.
A layup in the paint by Couisnard gave Tulsa its largest lead at 67-53 with 6:19 top go. A 3-pointer by Grovey matched less than a minute later.
TU meets UAB at 2 p.m. Sunday in Birmingham, Ala.