WICHITA, Kan. – Tulsa spoiled Wichita State’s first game in the American Athletic Conference with a 67-62 win Saturday afternoon in Charles Koch Arena.
The game also marked the first installment of Havoc in the Heartland between the two basketball programs. Tulsa’s Kendrian Elliott earned MVP honors with 14 points and six rebounds to lead the Golden Hurricane.
Rangie Bessard led the Shockers with her fourth double-double of the season. Bessard posted a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds on 8-of-16 shooting. With her 23 points, she now sits in 12th place on the WSU all-time scoring list, passing Carlesa Dennis who had 1,121 career points.
Angiee Tompkins added 15 points and seven rebounds off the bench in 31 minutes. Jeliah Preston chipped in 10 points – seven coming after halftime.
Wichita State (5-10, 0-1) struggled from long range again, finishing just 1-of-11 and 39 percent from the floor overall.
Tulsa (7-7, 1-0) finished with three players in double-figures led by Elliott’s 14. Alexis Gaulden and Rebecca Lescay added 14 and 10 points, respectively.
At the midway point of the quarter, the Shockers and Golden Hurricane were all knotted up at 6-6 and both teams shooting under 40 percent from the floor.
Tulsa got a basket as time expired from Kendrian Elliott to put the Golden Hurricane in front 15-12 after 10 minutes of play. The Shockers hit 6-of-15 attempts in the quarter compared to 7-of-17 for TU.
Twelve of Tulsa’s 15 points came in the paint, while the Shockers did most of their damage in the mid-range area.
The two teams traded baskets over the first six-plus minutes with Tulsa still holding a 24-21 lead. Wichita State couldn’t take the lead even though Tulsa went more than 2:30 without a score.
A Bessard fadeaway jumper from the baseline as time expired to head into the locker room trailing by just one, 28-27.
Bessard led all scorers with 10 points in the opening half on 5-of-10 shooting. Wichita State outshot Tulsa 41 percent to 35 percent, though neither team shot well from long range.
Lockhart and Tompkins added six points apiece.
Tulsa came out of the break to make five of its first seven shots to up its lead to 40-35 at the 5:00 minute mark. Tompkins scored a couple quick ones to join Bessard in double-figures.
The Golden Hurricane then opened up a 53-37 lead behind a 13-0 run covering more than three minutes. For Wichita State, it was more than four minutes before the Shockers snapped a scoreless drought of 4:16.
At the end of three quarters, Tulsa held a 53-39 lead thanks to shooting 75 percent (9-12) from the field in the third period.
On the offensive end for WSU, the Shockers made only 4-of-18 attempts to help TU win the quarter, 25-12.
Wichita State cut the lead down to single digits to open the final quarter behind a 9-0 run. Jeliah Preston helped spearhead the run by scoring five of the nine points.
Another 9-2 run saw the lead cut to just two, 59-57, with 2:30 to play. Tompkins and Bessard combined to score the nine Shocker points. Three huge offensive rebounds led to a Tulsa three-point play for Lescay to bump the lead back to five, 62-57, with a minute remaining.
With 27.9 seconds left, a Preston drive and score made it 63-60. The Golden Hurricane added the final free throws to ice the game, 67-62.
Wichita State hits the road for its first two road contests as a member of the American Athletic Conference, beginning with a trip to Houston to face the Cougars on Jan. 2 at 7 p.m.