Feb. 22, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University women's basketball team returns to action on Thursday, Feb. 22, when the Green Wave play host to Conference USA foe Tulsa in the annual "Play4Kay" contest at Fogelman Arena. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.
Formerly known as the WBCA Pink Zone and established in 2007, the mission of Play4Kay initiative will once again be 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 Thursday'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. There will be a Pink Station in Fogelman Arena where attendees can make donations, purchase pink Tulane t-shirts and pick up pink label pins. 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.
The Green Wave enters Thursday's Conference USA showdown 19-7 on the year, 8-5 in league play and looking to bounce back from a 56-51 loss to Southern Miss on Sunday in Hattiesburg, Miss.
As a team, Tulane is averaging 62.0 points, 40.2 rebounds, 14.7 assists, 10.0 steals and 4.8 blocks per game. Junior guard Olivia Grayson leads the team with a 13.7 point-per-game average while senior center Brett Benzio and freshman guard Danielle Blagg follow with marks of 9.7 and 8.0, respectively. Benzio has a team-best 9.3 rebounds per game and paces the squad with 57 blocks. Grayson leads the Wave with 89 assists and 62 steals.
Tulsa, meanwhile, comes to town 11-13 overall, 6-7 in Conference USA play and riding the momentum of a 75-70 win over East Carolina on Sunday at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
As a team, the Golden Hurricane are averaging 59.5 points, 42.1 rebounds, 10.3 assists, 9.4 steals and 2.9 blocks per game. Taleya Mayberry leads the team with 14.1 points per contest while Taylor Hooker and Chanice Scott follow with respective scoring averages of 11.6 and 7.5. Tiffani Couisnard paces the club with 8.2 rebounds per game and 20 blocks while Mayberry headlines the squad with 77 assists and Hooker has a team-best 71 steals.
Tulsa is hitting 36.4 percent of its shots from the field, connecting on 516-of-1418 attempts, including a 78-of-297 showing from beyond the 3-point line (.263). The Golden Hurricane's defense has allowed opponents to connect at a 37.2 shooting percentage (503-of-1352) and a 33.2 clip from 3-point land (127-of-383). Tulsa opponents are averaging 59.2 points, 37.6 rebounds, 13.0 assists, 8.9 steals and 3.7 blocks per game.
Thursday's game marks 16th meeting between Tulane and Tulsa on the hardwood, and the Green Wave hold an 11-4 advantage in the all-time series. Tulane is 10-4 against Tulsa under head coach Lisa Stockton, and all of those games have come since the Golden Hurricane joined Conference USA for the 2005-06 season.
The series with Tulsa dates back to a 49-44 road win on Jan. 6, 1987. Tulane is 5-2 against the Golden Hurricane in Fogelman Arena, including a 73-62 victory last Feb. 27. The last time Tulsa defeated the Green Wave in New Orleans was on Feb. 5, 2010, when the Golden Hurricane left town with an 80-67 decision.
Tulane swept the season series against Tulsa last year, earning the 14-point win on Jan. 23 before claiming a 73-62 victory on Feb. 27. The Green Wave also won the previous meeting with the Golden Hurricane this season, downing Tulsa 66-51 on Jan. 22 at the Reynolds Center.
Following the game against Tulsa, Tulane will head to Dallas to take on SMU on Sunday, Feb. 26, before returning to Fogelman Arena for the regular-season finale vs. Houston on March 1. The contest against the Cougars will be Tulane's annual "Senior Day" and a special ceremony will be held prior to tipoff honoring Brett Benzio.
For tickets to that game and future Green Wave home events, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office either in person, over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com. The Ticket Office located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center on Ben Weiner Drive, is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
BRING YOUR BEADS: Bead donation stations will be set up at the entrance to Fogelman Arena for the Tulane women's basketball team's Thursday game against Tulsa and the collection will be in collaboration with St. Michael's Special School, a local institution designed to help students with major learning difficulties that hinder their ability to achieve success in a regular class setting. Any amount of beads is acceptable and all who donate will receive a voucher valid for a ticket to the women's basketball game vs. Houston on March 1, the men's basketball game against East Carolina on March 3 or the baseball team's series with Brown from March 16-18. The beads will be given to the JOY (Jobs of Youth) Center at St. Michael's, which is an activity center for the school's graduates after the age of 21. The JOY Center recycles, packages and sells the carnival beads each year as a fundraiser for the school and the center.