Jan. 16, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University women's basketball team will look to improve on a 12-3 overall record and a 1-1 showing in Conference USA play on Thursday, Jan. 17, when the Green Wave travel to Houston to square off against league foe Rice at 7 p.m. in Tudor Fieldhouse.
The game against the Owls is the seventh for the Green Wave away from Devlin Fieldhouse and Tulane is a perfect 6-0 in those games to date with road wins at ULM, Southern, LSU and Marshall while posting neutral-site victories over Bradley and Western Michigan at the Hilton Garden Inn Thanksgiving Tournament in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Women's Hoops Downs C-USA Foe Rice In Overtime, 50-47
It wasn't always pretty, but in the end, it sure was sweet for the Green Wave as the Tulane University women's basketball team defeated Conference USA foe Rice in overtime, 50-47, on Thursday evening in Fogelman Arena.
"I think if we do the little things, we put ourselves in a position to win," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said. "For us, our challenge is to just be consistent. We've had games where we play really well and we've had games where we just go cold at times. Our goals have been to execute and play a better 40 minutes than we've played. At Marshall, I thought we did some good things, especially in the second half. We executed and our defense was good, and that made such a difference in the game."
Tulane heads to Houston winners of five of its last six ballgames, including a 67-57 road win over Marshall on Sunday in Huntington, W.Va. As a team, the Green Wave are averaging 68.4 points, 41.7 rebounds, 18.3 assists, 9.7 steals and 5.1 blocks per game.
Redshirt-sophomore forward Whitney Bibbins leads the Tulane offense with 13.9 points per game while sophomore guard Danielle Blagg and senior guard Olivia Grayson follow with respective scoring averages of 10.5 and 9.6. Grayson shares the team lead in rebounding with sophomore forward Tiffany Dale at 6.3 per game each and headlines the defense with 32 steals while Dale paces the squad with 25 blocked shots. Sophomore guard Jamie Kaplan leads the squad with 66 assists.
"This is a tough week," Stockton said. "We've got Rice on the road and them Memphis here, but you can only worry about Rice right now. For us, I don't think this team has reached its potential. We have to keep getting better in order to reach it."
Rice, meanwhile, enters Thursday's game 9-6 on the year, 1-1 in Conference USA play and fresh off a 56-53 win over Tulsa on Sunday afternoon in Houston.
As a team, the Owls are averaging 57.5 points, 45.9 rebounds, 11.5 assists, 5.6 steals and 3.7 blocks per contest. Jessica Kuster leads Rice in both scoring and rebounding with respective averages of 16.4 points and 10.6 rebounds per outing to go with a team-best 22 blocks while sharing squad-high steals honors with Christal Porter at 15 each. Megan Palmer is second on the team with 11.5 points per game while Nakachi Maduka follows with a 6.5 average. Maduka headlines the team with 33 assists.
Rice is hitting 35.4 percent of its shots from the field, connecting on 320-of-903 attempts, including a 42-of-168 showing from beyond the 3-point line (.250) while allowing opponents to tally a 37.9 field goal percentage (366-of-968) with a 25.5 performance from 3-point land (55-of-216). Owl foes are averaging 61.7 points, 41.3 rebounds, 12.9 assists, 11.1 steals and 3.6 blocks per game.
"They are a team that has great size," Stockton said of the Owls. "They've got different players that can post up and that's going to be a challenge. I don't think you ever talk about stopping somebody like (Kuster). I think you have to make it hard to get the shots that she wants. That's got to be our goal. She's one of those people who are going to have a double-double on a bad night. It's five-on-five and you've got to beat the whole five."
Thursday's game marks the 27th meeting between Tulane and Rice on the hardwood, and the Green Wave hold a slight 14-12 advantage in the all-time series. Tulane is 9-8 against Rice under Stockton, and eight of those victories came since the Owls joined Conference USA prior to the 2005-06 season.
The Tulane/Rice series dates back to Dec. 2, 1980 when the Green Wave posted a 73-53 road win over the Owls. That was the first of seven road wins against Rice as Tulane is 7-6 against the Owls in Houston.
Last season, the two teams split the regular-season series as Tulane and Rice posted victories before the home crown. The Owls won the initial meeting 67-49 on Jan. 12, 2012, in Tudor Fieldhouse but the Green Wave exacted a bit of revenge with a 50-47 overtime win on Feb. 16, 2012, in then-Fogelman Arena (since renovated and renamed Devlin Fieldhouse).
Following the game in Houston, Tulane returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 17, when the Green Wave travel to Houston to take on C-USA rival Rice at 7 p.m. in Tudor Fieldhouse. From there, Tulane returns home to Devlin Fieldhouse on Sunday, Jan. 20, when the Wave play host to Memphis with tipoff slated for 1 p.m.
For tickets the Tulane/Memphis contest, as well as future Green Wave events, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. The Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the Wilson Center on Ben Weiner Drive, and tickets can be purchased in person, over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.