Jan. 5, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - When the Tulane and LSU women's basketball teams have taken the court the last four seasons, fans of both teams were left on the edges of their seats as the two teams battled to overtime on three occasions and each game was decided by an average of just 3.5 points per contest.
On Sunday, however, the 16th-ranked Lady Tigers scored the game's first 12 points courtesy of four 3-pointers by guard Jeanne Kenney and the only drama proved to be predicting the final margin as the Green Wave dropped a 63-35 decision on Sunday afternoon at Devlin Fieldhouse.
Tulane's 35 points are tied for the third-fewest in program history and stand as the Green Wave's smallest offensive output since falling at Southern Miss, 73-35, back on Jan. 13, 1990. The loss snapped the Wave's five-game winning streak on the year and their three-game streak against the Lady Tigers as Tulane fell to 9-4. The 28-point loss was the most lopsided defeat since Tulane fell at Arizona State, 86-53 (33 points) on Nov. 16, 2008, in the second round of the Preseason WNIT. LSU, meanwhile, won its third consecutive game to improve to 12-2 on the season.
"I felt that we looked nervous from the start of the game," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said. "One of our goals was not to give Kenney that many open looks, but our zone didn't extend and we gave her those shots. Also, when you're down 12-0, it's deflating. Fighting out of that was a challenge for us.
"Overall, we did some good things defensively. If you want to give a bright spot, we didn't give up a tremendous amount of points, we out-rebounded them and we did some other really good things. I give LSU a lot of credit because they did some nice things, but our turnovers and or poor shooting were just hard to recover from."
The Green Wave held a 36-34 rebounding advantage and turned 19 offensive boards into 14 second-chance points. In addition, the Tulane defense forced 22 LSU turnovers, including 11 via steal. The Lady Tigers, however, forced 25 turnovers on the strength of 14 steals and shot 44.2 percent from the field (23-of-52), including a 9-of-18 showing from beyond the 3-point arc (.500). Tulane shot a season-low 20.8 percent from the field (11-of-53) for the game and were just 4-of-25 in the first half (.160)
Junior point guard Jamie Kaplan led the team offensively with 10 points and four assists while junior guard Danielle Blagg was next with nine points - all via 3-pointers. Junior forward Tiffany Dale paced the Green Wave with nine rebounds and four steals, and shared team-high block honors with sophomore center Chinwe Duru at two each.
"When we're turning the ball over and not shooting well, it's going to be difficult to win," Kaplan said. "We had 12 turnovers at halftime, got ourselves in a hole and it was tough to dig out."
After Kenney staked LSU to a 12-0 lead with her shots from 3-point land, Tulane got on the board at the 16:23 mark when Kaplan converted a layup and added a jumper 1:48 to make it 12-4. The two teams traded baskets for a while and a 3-pointer by junior wing Adesuwa Ebomwonyi made it a 19-10 ballgame with 11 minutes to play in the first half. From there, LSU finished the frame with a 14-2 run to go into the locker room with a comfortable 33-13 lead.
Tulane made some adjustments during halftime and opened the final period with a jumper by Kaplan, a layup by freshman guard Leslie Vorpahl and a 3-pointer by Blagg to cut the deficit to 13, but could get no closer the rest of the way. The Lady Tigers' lead hovered in the mid to high teens through the midway point of the second half and LSU quieted any talks of a Green Wave comeback with a 13-0 run to take a 55-25 advantage with 3:28 remaining in regulation.
LSU's biggest lead came 1:38 later when a jumper by Raigyne Moncrief made it a 33-point contest at 61-28 and Tulane posted seven of the game's final nine points to account for the final score.
"We came out of the locker and just that we had to be the aggressors," Stockton said of her team's early second-half surge. "We were trying to create our own breaks. We got tips on the ball, we got steals, we were able to convert some of those and we were really aggressive. That worked for us pretty well and then we didn't make a shot for a while. That's what it really came down to.
"I thought we were our own worst enemy tonight, offensively. Some of it was shot selection. Some shots just didn't fall. Sometimes we were impatient and didn't use screens. Those are all things that are fixable. It was tough in the first half and we just got frustrated offensively."
Kenney led LSU with a game-high 17 points, including five 3-pointers, and five assists. Lady Tigers' forward Theresa Plaisance posted the game's lone double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds to go with a trio of blocked shots, and Danielle Ballard tied Dale's effort with four steals.
The Green Wave return to action on Thursday, Jan. 9, when they open the Conference USA portion of the 2013-14 schedule at Marshall. That game will be televised live nationally on Fox Sports Net with tipoff slated for 8 p.m. (CST). From there, the Tulane will head to Norfolk, Va., to take on league newcomer Old Dominion on Jan. 11 before returning home to face East Carolina on Wednesday, Jan. 15.
For tickets to that game, as well as future Green Wave Athletics events, contact the Tulane Ticket Office. The ticket office is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson Jr. Center, and fans can also order tickets on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com or by calling (504) 861-WAVE (9283).