A layup by Taleya Mayberry followed by a game-clinching free throw from Kadan Brady in the last half-minute lifted Tulsa to a 49-45 victory Sunday afternoon at the Reynolds Center.
Mayberry had another high-scoring game with 21 points while the Tulsa defense was effective against Jessica Kuster, the Owls’ top scorer.
Kuster, the Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year, had double-doubles in the Owls’ three previous games and had 13 on the year. She was denied Sunday as she scored seven points and had 12 rebounds.
“She’s their leading scorer and leading rebounder,” Tulsa coach Matilda Mossman said. “We thought if we limited her touches, even when she had it, we were playing her a certain way so that she couldn’t be effective. I thought Kelsee Grovey and Kadan Brady did a great job of defending her.”
The win is also the fourth straight for TU (11-13, 6-5 in Conference USA), its longest streak of the season.
“It is awesome,” Mayberry said. “Winning four in a row, we’re on a roll and we want to keep it going.”
Tulsa was up 46-45 for almost three minutes before Mayberry scored in the paint with 25 seconds remaining.
“When it’s a one-point ball game, it’s kind of anybody’s ball game.” Mayberry said. “We ran our flat-play, trying to get me something going to the rim and I knew if I scored, it would give us more of a cushion.”
Jessica Goswitz, the Owls’ scoring leader with 12 points, all coming on 3-pointers, attempted to tie the game with another trey with 10 seconds to go. But her shot was way off and she fouled Brady three ticks later, sending the Healdton sophomore guard to the line.
Brady, second on team-scoring with nine points, made the first free shot and the game was clinched. She would miss the second.
Rice (10-14, 2-9) would finish out-boarding TU, 43-42.
Tulsa finished shooting 32 percent (20-of-63), made just two treys and was 50 percent (7-of-14) in free throws.
The Owls were also 32 percent (16-of-50) in shots, 31 percent (5-of-16) in 3s and 53 percent from the line.
Tulsa’s win split’s the season-series. Rice won the first meeting, 56-53, back on Jan. 13 in Houston.
The Golden Hurricane travel to Dallas Thursday for a meeting with first-place SMU. They lost to the Mustangs, 71-46, back on Jan. 27 at the Reynolds Center.