Feb. 11, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University women's basketball team will look to extend its winning streak to three games and improve on their 17-6 overall record on Wednesday, Feb. 12, when the Green Wave travel to Boca Raton, Fla., to take on Conference USA newcomer Florida Atlantic. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. (CST).
The Wave are currently tied for second in the C-USA standings with an 8-2 league mark but will be participating in an interesting matchup against the Owls. FAU ranks second in the conference with 78.6 points per game and seventh with a 40.8 field goal percentage while Tulane, by comparison, is fifth in both points scored (69.7) and field goal percentage (.415). The Green Wave, however, hold the advantage defensively as Tulane ranks third in C-USA in points allowed per contest (62.1) and fourth in field goal defense (.380) while the Owls are last in both categories (72.8 points allowed/45.5 field goal defense).
"This is definitely a different type of team we're playing," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said. "It's a team that lives and dies by the 3. They're playing very well and they're putting up a lot of points. Their stats are pretty interesting. They're not very good at rebounding and they give up a lot of points, but they have an offense that can really score.
"They're a team that wants a lot of possessions. The more possessions they get, they more opportunity they have for 3s. It's similar to the Saint Francis game that we played earlier in the year where they want to make you shoot quick, they want to make you turn over the ball and they want to get the ball back quickly. For us, patience is going to be a real key."
Wednesday's Tulane/Florida Atlantic contest will be broadcast live on the flagship radio station of Green Wave women's basketball, WRBH 88.3 FM, and live video streaming is available on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to paid members of the All-Access Pass. In addition, live stats are provided on the web for free via GameTracker.
Junior point guard Jamie Kaplan leads four players averaging double figures offensively with 11.9 points per game while junior guard Danielle Blagg, junior forward Tiffany Dale and freshman guard Leslie Vorpahl follow with respective averages of 11.7, 11.0 and 10.2. Dale paces the team with 8.0 rebounds per game each and Kaplan leads the Green Wave with 6.7 assists per contest. Junior wing Adesuwa Ebomwonyi headlines the defense with 1.4 steals per outing while Dale and sophomore center Chinwe Duru share team-high blocked shots honors with 1.5 swats per game each.
Tulane is connecting at a .415 clip from the field, hitting 559-of-1348 shots from the floor, and 119-of-359 tries from beyond the 3-point arc (.331), while allowing opponents to shoot .380 overall (515-of-1355) and .288 from 3-point land (123-of-427). Green Wave foes are averaging 62.1 points, 37.4 rebounds, 13.5 assists, 8.0 steals and 3.0 blocks per game so far in 2013-14.
"We have to start stronger than we've started, but the thing I feel good about is that this team can finish," Stockton said. "That's something that in the last couple of years we might not have been our best at - finishing our second half. In the last five minutes, we've been very good whether we've been behind or ahead, we keep a lead or get a lead. We've hit shots down the stretch. Some of this game is luck. Some of it is working hard. Right now, things have gone our way. We've got to keep doing what we're doing and create our own breaks."
Florida Atlantic, meanwhile, enters the contest 13-9 overall, 3-6 in Conference USA and looking build on the momentum of a 91-86 win at Tulsa on Saturday afternoon.
As a team, the Owls are averaging 78.6 points, 36.2 rebounds, 13.6 assists, 10.7 steals and 1.8 blocks per contest. Chenise Miller leads a balanced FAU offense with 13.4 points per game game while Latavia Dempsey and Kimberly Smith follow with identical averages of 12.7 and Takie Brooks is next at 10.7. Miller also paces the Owls with 7.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game while Smith leads the squad with 2.8 assists and 1.8 steals per outing.
FAU is hitting 40.1 percent of its shots from the field, connecting on 613-of-1502 attempts, including a 186-of-455 showing from beyond the 3-point line (.323) while allowing opponents to tally a 45.5 field goal percentage (580-of-1276) with a 37.3 performance from 3-point land (94-of-252). Owls' foes are averaging 72.8 points, 43.2 rebounds, 12.3 assists, 6.7 steals and 3.0 blocks per game.
"This is a unique challenge playing at Florida Atlantic," Stockton added. "They've played very well lately. They played a three-point game at East Carolina so you have to go in there and really respect them, and then you really have to regroup. We've had two of the best practices we've had all year in the last two days. Our focus right now has to be about us and our energy, and not playing tired or fatigued here in February. We've challenged our team to do something special and they have their goals. I also think we're focusing on the little things and I like the way our team came out this week."
Wednesday's game marks the first-ever meeting between Tulane and Florida Atlantic on the hardwood and the matchup in FAU Arena, marks the Owls' first year as a member of Conference USA.
Since moving to Division I status for the 1993-94 season, the Owls played as an independent program for two seasons before joining the then-Trans America Athletic Conference (renamed Atlantic Sun in 2001) for the 1994-95 campaign. FAU moved to the Sun Belt Conference in 2006-07 and played in the league through last season.
Following the game in Boca Raton, Tulane returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 15, when the Green Wave return to New Orleans where they will play host to C-USA foe FIU. 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).
TULANE TO PLAY 4KAY ON SATURDAY: The Tulane/FIU contest on Saturday will be the Green Wave's annual Play 4Kay contest as part of a cooperative effort nationwide of collegiate women's basketball coaches raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campus, in communities and beyond. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund will continue to be the official charity of the initiative. Fans attending Saturday's game are encouraged to wear pink to show their support for survivors as well as those who have lost their battle with breast cancer. Donations will be accepted for commemorative Play 4Kay t-shirts and cupcakes will be on sale with all proceeds going to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. The fund is named in honor of former North Carolina State head women's basketball coach Kay Yow, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and passed away on Jan. 24, 2009 following her third bout with the disease.