UAB Holds Off Tulane, 81-79

Sophomore Chelsee Black led UAB with 23 points and had five assists in the win.

Feb. 22, 2014

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Four players scored in double figures as the UAB women's basketball team held off Tulane for an 81-79 win on Saturday afternoon.

"Today was the best basketball that we have played all year," said head coach Randy Norton. "The ball movement was outstanding. We were unselfish. I really enjoyed coaching them. We found a way to win at the end. I thought we showed great poise. We stepped up and hit our free throws. I'm really proud of this team."

UAB (15-10, 7-5) played a well-balanced game, shooting 44.8 percent from the field, 54.2 percent in the second half. The team dished out 20 assists in the game and outrebounded Tulane (19-7, 10-3) 36-32.

Sophomore Chelsee Black led the Blazers with 23 points, hitting 5-of-8 from 3-point range. Senior Karisma Chapman had her 14th double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds. It was the fifth-straight game she has scored over 20 points.

Fellow senior Ashley Grimes added 14 points for the Blazers and junior Miranda Burroughs added 10 points. Burroughs also led the team with a career-high seven assists.

The Green and Gold continued its strong shooting from the free throw line, finishing 90.5 percent (19-of-21) from the charity stripe. Both Chapman and Grimes were perfect from the line finishing 7-of-7 and 6-of-6, respectively. 

"We ended up 90 percent from the line, 19 of 21, and that's a credit to our players and our assistant coaches. We have been putting in a lot of extra time with shooting and it's fun to see it pay off. I know last year one of the things they said was that they didn't shoot well from the free throw line. We shot 90% tonight and I think our last game we were 83%, so it's really fun to see that pay off."

UAB opened the game with three-straight 3-pointers, and had connected on five by the 12:46 mark in the first half to give the Blazers a 23-10 lead. Black had two of the first three and then hit two jumpers to score 10 points in the first five minutes of the game.

"In practice we talk about poise every possession and making every possession count," said Chapman. "I think in the first half, the first 17 minutes, we played the best basketball we have played all year. We were moving the ball inside and out. Our coaches prepare us. Nobody can guard inside-out basketball. I feel like we just played as a team." 

The Green Wave used a 7-0 run to climb back into the game and cut UAB's lead to 27-22 at the 5:22 mark. The Blazers were back up by seven with two minutes to play but Tulane closed out the half with seven-straight points to take a 34-33 lead into the break.

Out of halftime, the Blazers opened the second half much like the first hitting, two three's from Burroughs and Black, to retake the lead 39-34. Burroughs hit another three that put UAB up 44-36 at the 16:20 mark in the second half.

Tulane put together an 8-0 run to tie the game up at 44-44 with 14:40 remaining. The Blazers were able to stay ahead and went back up by three but the Green Wave tied it up again at 54-54 with a three from Danielle Blagg. Blagg led Tulane with 21 points.

Black responded with her fourth 3-pointer of the game to give UAB the lead with 9:29 remaining. The team stretched its lead to as many as seven points but could not completely shake Tulane.

The Green Wave pulled within one, 69-68, at the 3:23 mark but it was Black again who hit another three to put UAB up 72-68 with 2:36 to go.

On the next possession, Black was fouled driving to the basket and she converted both free throws. Then, a steal by Chapman gave the Blazers the ball back and Grimes found sophomore Kayla Anderson, who hit the layup for a 76-68 UAB lead.

The Blazers were up by seven with 38 seconds remaining, 79-72. Tulane rallied back pull within two points with 11 seconds to go but UAB blocked the shot in the final second to come away with the win.

"The thing that stuck out to me tonight was I bet these guys don't know what their stats are," stated Norton. "It felt like they just played to win. Our point guard ended up with 23 points, five assists and only one turnover. Karisma did her thing, had a double-double, that's what you expect out of her. I just felt collectively our team played to win. They took the shot that was best for our team, and that was really fun to watch as a coach."

UAB will have a two-game road stint before closing out the season back at home. The Blazers will face Southern Miss this Wednesday, Feb. 26. That game is slated to tip off at 7 p.m. CT.

For the latest news on Blazer sports, follow the UAB Athletics Twitter account: @UABathletics. For women's basketball news, follow @UAB_WBB.