Nov. 8, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Three Green Wave players posted double-doubles - including 20-point, 15-rebound performance by junior forward Adesuwa Ebomwonyi - as the Tulane University women's basketball team defeated cross-town foe University of New Orleans, 81-46, in the season opener for both teams on Friday evening in Devlin Fieldhouse.
Tulane missed its first nine field goal attempts and trailed 8-7 just under seven minutes into the ballgame. From there, however, the Green Wave went on a 12-0 run over the next 4:06 to take control of the game and never looked back. The Wave went into the locker room at the break on top, 35-18, and outscored UNO 46-28 in the second half to cruise to the victory. It was Tulane's ninth-consecutive season-opening win and the 35-point differential was the largest to open a season since the Green Wave downed Hofstra, 90-54 (36 points), on Dec. 4, 1993, at the Harvard Tournament in Boston, Mass.
"Starting the game, we didn't shoot the ball very well," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said. "We had a lot of opportunities that we just didn't convert on. I felt really good about accomplishing our goals for tonight, though. One of the things we really did well was keeping our intensity high, especially with a short bench. I was pleased with our rebounding. We have some great rebounders with Adesuwa and Tiffany Dale, and even if you aren't shooting the ball that well, as long as you get some good rebounding you have a good shot to win the game."
The Green Wave held a commanding 50-29 rebounding advantage and turned 23 offensive boards into 22 second-chance points. Tulane's defense forced 21 Privateer turnovers, including 11 via steal, and turned the UNO miscues into 24 points. The Wave also used its size inside to hold a 38-16 edge in points in the paint. Despite the Green Wave's slow start offensively, Tulane finished the day with a 48.5 field goal percentage (32-of-66), including a 19-of-30 performance (.633) in the second half.
Ebomwonyi's point and rebound totals were both career highs, as were her three 3-pointers, while junior point guard Jamie Kaplan had a career-best 13 assists to go with 10 points and a steal. Her assist total sits tied for third in Tulane single-game history and just one off the school record of 14 set by Ashley Langford against SMU on Feb. 26, 2006 and vs. UTEP on Jan. 20, 2007. It was the first double-digit assist performance by a Tulane player since then-freshman Olivia Grayson had 10 against ULM in the 2009-10 season opener.
Sophomore center Chinwe Duru, meanwhile, added 11 points and 11 rebounds while sharing game-high block honors with junior forward Tiffany Dale at four apiece. Not to be left out, freshman guard Leslie Vorpahl had 16 points and fellow rookie guard Courtnie Latham added nine in their collegiate debuts. Sophomore wing Tierra Jones led the Green Wave defense with three steals and narrowly missed becoming the third Tulane player to pull down double-digit rebounds with a career-high tying nine off the bench.
"I really liked our defense tonight," Stockton said. "For some of the freshmen, this is a brand new system. When you look at some of the players that had significant minutes last season, there aren't a lot of them left. Tierra Jones, I thought, played some really good minutes for us tonight along with several other players.
"I think the defense is what I'd really like to work on, obviously, along with the number of foul calls and being aggressive. But it's really hard to stay away from the team fouls when you're being aggressive like we are right now. We just need to find that balance between being aggressive and being overaggressive, and that's the main thing."
With her team down by one with 13:07 to play in the first half, Jones sparked the game-changing rally with a layup. Latham followed with a bucket of her own, Jones and redshirt-freshman guard Katye Magee combined for five free throws, and Ebomwonyi capped the run with a layup to make it 18-8 at the 9:01 mark.
A free throw by UNO's Raven Coleman cut the deficit to nine on the Privateers ensuing possession, but a Vorpahl jumper the next time down the court pushed the advantage to 20-9 and the Green Wave led by double figures the rest of the night.
Duru hit a pair of free throws to open the second half and make it a 20-point affair and Tulane held a 57-37 lead with 9:54 to play in regulation. The Green Wave outscored UNO 24-9 the rest of the way.
"It was the first game of the season so it's not uncommon that you start off a little slow," Kaplan said. "Once we kind of got going and got into a rhythm, we relaxed a little bit. We took control of the ball. I was happy with the amount of turnovers we didn't have. I think as the game progressed, we got better and better."
Danielle Davis led UNO with 14 points and shared team-high assists honors with Samantha Gray and Ariele Davis at two each. Mathilde Fogelstrom paced the Privateers with seven rebounds to go with eight points.
The Green Wave return to action on Monday, Nov. 11, when they play host to McNeese State in Devlin Fieldhouse. Tipoff for that game is slated for 7 p.m. The game against the Cowgirls is the second of three-straight home contests for Tulane as the Green Wave will take on Southeastern Louisiana on Nov. 19.
Season tickets to the 2013-14 Tulane women's basketball home slate are $100 for floor seats, $85 for side-court seating and $50 for seats along the baseline. For additional information, fans can stop by the Ticket Office - which is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson Jr. Center, call in at (504) 861-WAVE (9283) or check out the official website at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.