Jan. 3, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - As the calendar turns from 2013 to 2014, the Tulane University women's basketball team will look to open the New Year on a high note when the Green Wave play host to No. 16 LSU on Sunday, Jan. 5, at 2 p.m. in Devlin Fieldhouse.
Sunday's game marks the 35th meeting between Tulane and the Lady Tigers, and while LSU holds a 28-6 lead in the all-time series, the Green Wave have won the head-to-head matchup in each of the last three seasons. The stakes will be even higher this time around as not only will Tulane be facing an LSU team that holds its highest ranking since the two team's 2009 contest - a game the then-No. 7 Lady Tigers won 73-65 in overtime - in New Orleans, it is also the Green Wave's final tune-up game before opening the Conference USA portion of the schedule next Thursday at Marshall.
Women's Basketball Rallies To Defeat LSU In Overtime, 66-64
Sophomores Whitney Bibbins and Danielle Blagg both scored a team-high 13 points off the bench and senior forward Brittany McDonald added a career-high 11 as the Tulane University women's basketball team defeated LSU, 66-64, in overtime on Sunday afternoon at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Tulane/LSU contest will be broadcast on the flagship radio station of Green Wave women's baskeball, WRBH 88.3 FM, and live video streaming is available on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com. In addition, live stats is provided for free on the Internet via GameTracker.
Tulane enters the contest 9-3 on the year and riding the crest of a five-game winning streak which includes a 2-0 showing last week in the 18th Annual Tulane/DoubleTree Classic as the Green Wave defeated Northeastern, 85-49, in the tournament opener on Dec. 28 and Indiana State, 51-45, in the title game on Dec. 29.
As a team, the Green Wave are averaging 70.8 points, 42.8 rebounds, 16.0 assists, 8.2 steals and 3.9 blocks per game. Junior guard Danielle Blagg leads three Tulane players with double-figure scoring averages with 14.5 points per game while junior point guard Jamie Kaplan and freshman guard Leslie Vorpahl follow with respective averages of 11.9 and 10.1. Junior forward Tiffany Dale paces the team with 8.0 rebounds per game and sophomore center Chinwe Duru headlines the defense with 1.7 blocked shots per outing. Kaplan leads the Green Wave with 6.2 assists per game and junior forward Tierra Jones holds team-high steal honors with 1.4 thefts per contest.
"I like the way we're playing," Stockton said. "We're playing very unselfishly and we've had a lot of players step up on different nights. During the DoubleTree Classic, we had a couple of players with double-doubles the first night and the next other players really emerged. It's nice to have the depth that we have and players just playing with confidence."
LSU, meanwhile, comes to town 11-2 on the year and winners of its last two games, including an 80-77 win over No. 5 Tennessee on Thursday evening in Knoxville, Tenn. As a team, the Lady Tigers are averaging 73.9 points, 41.0 rebounds, 14.5 assists, 9.5 steals and 3.2 blocks per contest.
Theresa Plaisance leads three LSU players averaging double figures offensively with 12.9 points per game while Raigyne Moncrief and Danielle Ballard follow with scoring averages of 12.5 and 10.2, respectively. Plaisance also paces the team with 6.7 rebounds per game and Moncrief has a team-best 2.3 steals per outing. DaShawn Harden leads the Lady Tigers with 1.5 a blocks-per-game average and Jeanne Kenney headlines the squad with 3.2 assists per contest.
LSU is hitting 43.6 percent of its shots from the field, connecting on 342-of-785 attempts, including a 49-of-132 showing from beyond the 3-point line (.371) while allowing opponents to tally a 40.4 field goal percentage (300-of-743) with a 29.3 performance from 3-point land (78-of-266). Lady Tigers' foes are averaging 64.2 points, 36.1 rebounds, 12.8 assists, 8.4 steals and 2.9 blocks per game.
"I think a win would be big because of momentum but again, you don't evaluate your season on Top 20 opponents," Stockton said. "For us, we'll have to get some confidence either way from this game and we've got two tough conference games right after that. It's important that we're ready to play against Marshall and get something out of this game to get better."
The current winning streak against LSU began on Nov. 23, 2010, when Tulane went to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and snapped an eight-game skid against the Lady Tigers with a 54-52 victory. Leading by what proved to be the final score, the Green Wave had to sweat it out as LSU's Destini Hughes drew a blocking call with three-tenths of a second remaining, but missed both of her free throws.
The following year, Blagg had a game-high 22 points, but none were bigger than her layup and subsequent and-one free throw with 1.7 seconds remaining in overtime Tulane upended then-No. 20 LSU, 65-62, in Devlin Fieldhouse. The drama continued last season as the two teams battled to a 53-53 tie at the end of regulation. The Green Wave fell behind 66-62 with 2:43 left to play in the extra period, but answered with a 9-0 run en route to a two-point win.
Tulane had a chance to start the streak one year earlier as the Green Wave gave LSU all they could handle for 40 minutes on Nov. 25, 2009, in Devlin Fieldhouse. With the score tied at 59-all at the end of the second half, however, the Lady Tigers scored the first four points of the extra stanza and never trailed again as Tulane fell, 73-65.
"I've been in Devlin when the atmosphere was electric, especially playing an LSU team," Stockton added. "We've played a ranked LSU team in there before and it makes such a difference for our team with the energy we can get from that crowd. Also the familiarity of being on our floor is great. For this community, this is a good as women's basketball gets right now. These two teams matching up with all the close games and overtime games that we've had, it should be another really good one.
"I don't know if (winning the last three matchups is) an advantage. The only advantage is our players have been there before and they've played that game before. The nice thing about games like that is that it's not a conference championship. It's not something that you look at for your conference, but it's a little bit of pride and it's also matching up against a really good team and seeing how you can do against a really good team. Our players have answered the challenge the last few years and I'm challenging this team to do the same."
Following the game against LSU, Tulane's C-USA opener at Marshall will be televised live nationally on Fox Sports Net with tipoff slated for 8 p.m. (CST). From there, the Green Wave 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 Tulane 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).