Jan. 11, 2014
NORFOLK, Va. - It was a festive atmosphere on Saturday afternoon at the Ted Constant Convocation Center as fans and fireworks - literally - were on hand to commemorate the Old Dominion's first home game as a member of Conference USA. By the time the smoke cleared, the Tulane University women's basketball team was comfortably ahead and never trailed at any point as the Green Wave rolled past the Lady Monarchs, 92-62.
Tulane's point output was a season high, the most since defeating Nicholls State, 108-66, on Dec. 17, 2008, in Thibodaux, La., and the most in a conference contest since posting a 92-74 win at Houston on Jan. 21, 2000. With the win, Tulane improved to 11-4 on the year and 2-0 in C-USA. Old Dominion, meanwhile, dropped its second straight game to fall to 7-9 overall and 0-2 in league play.
"By far, that was the best game that we've played all year," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said. "Our team had such great energy and was tremendously intense. Twenty-six assists says it all. The team really shared the ball. I do believe that Old Dominion has a nice team. Athletically, we were afraid of their ability to get in the lane and score on us. We did a nice job with that, got some momentum and got some confidence when our shots went in."
The Green Wave connected on a season-best 57.1 percent of their field goals (36-of-63), including a 19-of-31 performance in the second half (.613). Tulane had 26 assists and just nine turnovers, held a 40-28 rebounding advantage, and turned 15 offensive boards into 21 second-chance points. Defensively, Tulane held Old Dominion to a 37.9 field goal percentage (22-of-58) and just 20.0 from 3-point land (5-of-25).
Junior guard Danielle Blagg led four Green Wave players in double figures offensively with a game-high 22 points after sinking 8-of-15 field goals, including 4-of-8 from beyond the 3-point line, and both of her free throw opportunities. Freshman guard Leslie Vorpahl came off the bench to chip in 18 points while junior forward Tiffany Dale and junior point guard Jamie Kaplan added 14 and 12, respectively. Kaplan fell one assist shy of a double-double with nine dimes, and Dale and Blagg shared team-high rebounding honors with seven each.
"Tiffany Dale established herself very early inside the paint," Stockton said. "She did that at Marshall, too. Having that inside presence, the defense has to come off the shooters on the perimeter plays and that got our shooters open. It definitely was a balance of being able to score inside and outside, and also getting some offensive putbacks.
"We've rebounded well this year. Even against the SEC teams, we've held our own in rebounding. That's been a positive stat for us. The other thing is, and I tell the team this all the team, if we get 20 assists we usually win because we are a very balanced team. That's not a surprising stat. We shot well. We played well. We distributed the ball and that was really key for our offense."
Tulane scored the game's first four points and held a 13-2 lead at the 13:08 mark. Old Dominion whittled the Green Wave advantage down to six at 17-11just under three minutes later but Tulane drained 3-pointers in three consecutive possessions to spark a 13-2 run and scored 11 of the final 15 points of the half to go into the locker room ahead 41-22.
The break in the action did little to cool the Green Wave as Tulane scored the first seven points of the final frame to stretch the lead to 26 at 48-22 just 2:26 into the period. The Tulane lead never dipped below 22 the rest of the way and the Wave led by as many as 32 on three occasions, the last coming at 92-60 on a put-back by redshirt-freshman Morgan Rogers with 34 seconds on the clock. Old Dominion's Stephanie Gardner hit a layup with 19 seconds remaining to account for the final score.
Shae Kelley posted a double-double to lead the Lady Monarchs, scoring 19 points to go with a game-high 10 rebounds. Tiffany Minor was the only other Old Dominion player to finish in double digits offensively with 17 points after sinking 7-of-12 shots with three makes coming from beyond the 3-point arc. Galaisha Goodhope and Becca Allison shared team-high assist honors with two apiece, and Goodhope paced the squad with two steals.
"We got some confidence, started rolling and just got that momentum," Stockton added. "I'm just proud of my team. I think they beat a very good team tonight and we played a really good game.
Tulane returns to action on Wednesday, Jan.15, when the Green Wave play host to East Carolina at 7 p.m. in Devlin Fieldhouse. That contest is the first of a two-game homestand as Tulane will take on Southern Miss on Saturday, Jan. 18, with tipoff slated for 2 p.m.
For tickets to those games, 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).