Tulane hits free throws down the stretch, down McNeese, 70-66

Tulane hits free throws down the stretch, down McNeese, 70-66
(Source: KPLC)
(Source: KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES—McNeese women's basketball scrapped and clawed until the final buzzer but fell short in a 70-66 loss to Tulane here Wednesday.

"The effort that we played with tonight was the best I've seen us play all year," said head coach Kacie Cryer. "We won every 50-50 ball that was on the ground, any hustle play that there was to make- we made them and I thought that's what kept us in the game."

Senior Keara Hudnall and sophomore Caitlin Davis led McNeese (3-3) in scoring with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Senior Mercedes Rogers led all players with nine rebounds and freshman Bre'Ashlee Jones collected six. Davis nearly had her second double-double of the season, ending the game with nine assists. Davis also made three of the Cowgirls' eight three-pointers.

Tulane (4-3) had four players score in double figures, led by senior Kolby Morgan's game high 25 points. Tene Thompson scored 15, Meredith Shulte had 12 and Harlyn Wyatt chipped in 10. Morgan was 8 of 15 from the field including 4 of 7 from behind the arc. 

McNeese held a slim one-point lead (16-15) following the first period and the game was tied at 23 all at the half. 

The Green Wave opened up the second half on a 16-5 run to take a 39-28 lead and its largest lead of the game midway through the third quarter. McNeese cut the lead to seven (39-32) on two free throws by Rogers and a layup by Carswell but four straight free throws by the Green Wave gave them another 11 point lead. McNeese would end the third quarter by outscoring Tulane 7-2 to cut the lead to five (44-39) heading into the fourth quarter.

After Tulane opened the fourth quarter with a layup, Hudnall and Davis drained back-to-back treys to cut the lead to one (46-45) with eight minutes left in the game. Tulane would extend its lead to four but another three by Davis brought McNeese within one point again with five minutes left. Tulane used the free throw line to its advantage within a two minute span to take a six point lead (66-60) with 38 seconds left in the game. During that span, Tulane scored five of their seven points from the charity stripe.

McNeese continued to scrap and claw as Hudnall cut the lead to four with a layup but another Tulane free throw gave the Wave a five point lead (67-62) with 28 ticks left on the clock. 

Rogers had an opportunity for a three-point play after she was fouled on a layup but she missed the free throw to cut the lead to three with 21 seconds left. Dede Sheppard grabbed the rebound off the miss free throw and was fouled. Sheppard made both to bring McNeese to within one point (67-66) but McNeese had to foul in an attempt to win the game and Tulane made their final three free throws to seal the win.

"We had a chance there at the end with 18 second left and Dede may have taken the shot a little too early but she is a senior and I trust that kid. I'll take her shooting that shot any day, it just didn't fall. We battled our tails off tonight and I couldn't be any prouder of the effort by this team.

McNeese will travel to UL-Lafayette on Sunday, Dec. 3 for a 5 p.m. game that will be played at the Cajun Dome.

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.