TUCSON, Ariz. ?- Chicago State overcame a 10-point second half deficit to defeat Tulane, 65-64, in the first game of the Mission Management & Trust 2005 Fiesta Bowl Classic at McKale Center this afternoon.
Ayesha Neasley hit a jumper with 53 seconds remaining in the game to give the Cougars their first lead of the second half at 63-62. Neasley then hit consecutive free throws with 20 seconds left, as she extended the Cougars’ lead to 65-62.
The Green Wave had one final chance to tie the game and put the ball in the hands of Nikki Luckurst, who scored a game-high 20 points, including four three-pointers, all in the second half. However, Luckurst’s three-point attempt missed with one second remaining and Kendra Barnes put-back as time expired was not enough for the Green Wave.
Neasley finished with 13 points for the Cougars, who trailed 50-40 with 11:33 remaining in the game. The Cougars forced nine second half turnovers, while only giving up the ball four times. Chicago State also grabbed eight second half offensive rebounds en route to the come-from-behind victory.
Faith Buchanan scored a team-high 15 points for the Cougars. Renada Blackburn and Tina Hill each chipped in 10 points each.
The Cougars will play Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in the championship game against Arizona. Tulane will face Lehigh in the consolation game at 1 p.m.