March 2, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University women's basketball team will close out the home portion of the 2012-13 campaign and the quartet of guard Olivia Grayson, wing Janique Kautsky, forward Brittany McDonald and guard Tyria Snow will play its final regular-season game in front of the home crowd on Sunday, March 3, when the Green Wave play host to Conference USA rival Southern Miss at 11 a.m. in Devlin Fieldhouse.
Women's Basketball Drops C-USA Contest At Southern Miss, 56-51
Freshman guard Danielle Blagg and senior Brett Benzio combined for 25 points and junior guard Olivia Grayson surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career, but it was not enough as the Tulane University women's basketball team dropped a 56-51 decision to Conference USA foe Southern Miss on Sunday afternoon at Reed Green Coliseum.
"I think it's always emotional for the seniors playing their last (home) game, but it's also a fun thing," Tulane head women's basketball coach Lisa Stockton said. "I've had a lot of seniors who have really enjoyed that night, and being on TV probably highlights it a little more. These four seniors have had tremendous success in their careers. When you look at it, they've had four 20-win seasons and three postseasons. That really says a lot about the class and hopefully we'll have a good crowd to see them off."
In addition to the television coverage, the Tulane/Southern Miss contest will also be aired live on the flagship radio station of Tulane basketball, The Ticket 106.1 FM, and live audio streaming is available on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to paid members of the All-Access Pass. Live stats are provided on the Internet for free via GameTracker.
The Wave are currently tied for second place in the C-USA standings - sharing the spot with East Carolina and just one game the team they Tulane defeated on Thursday, SMU (11-3). If Tulane can win its final two regular-season games and the Mustangs fall at least one more time, the Green Wave will earn at least a share of the regular-season conference crown.
"We still want a shot at the conference championship," Stockton said. "We're one game out and we want a shot at it. Obviously somebody else has to help us out, but we talked about that. We talk about trying to win a championship and we've got two chances: if this happens or in the tournament."
As a team, the Green Wave are averaging 66.9 points, 41.6 rebounds, 16.6 assists, 9.6 steals and 4.5 blocks per game. Redshirt-sophomore forward Whitney Bibbins leads the Tulane offense with 12.4 points per game while sophomore guard Danielle Blagg and Grayson follow with respective scoring averages of 10.3 and 9.2. Sophomore forward Tiffany Dale paces the squad with 6.8 boards per game to go with a team-best 41 blocked shots, Grayson headlines the defense with 52 steals, and sophomore guard Jamie Kaplan leads the Green Wave with 116 assists.
Tulane is connecting at a .407 clip from the field, hitting 663-of-1627 shots from the floor, and 137-of-415 tries from beyond the 3-point arc (.330), while allowing opponents to shoot .370 overall (585-of-1580) and .292 from 3-point land (135-of-462). Green Wave foes are averaging 59.0 points, 36.9 rebounds, 13.0 assists, 8.8 steals and 2.9 blocks so far in 2012-13.
Southern Miss, meanwhile, comes to town 13-14 on the year, 5-9 in C-USA play and looking to build on the momentum of a 68-61 win over Marshall on Thursday night in Huntington, W.Va.
As a team, the Golden Eagles are averaging 62.7 points, 38.4 rebounds, 13.4 assists, 9.6 steals and 3.3 blocks per contest. Jamierra Faulkner leads Southern Miss in scoring with an 18.4 point-per-game average while Tanecka Carey and Jerontay Clemons follow with averages of 14.8 and 10.0, respectively. Clemons paces the squad with 6.8 rebounds per game, Faulkner headlines the unit with both 181 assists and 91 steals, and Ance Celmina sports a team-best 25 blocked shots.
Southern Miss is hitting 39.9 percent of its shots from the field, connecting on 650-of-1630 attempts, including a 105-of-341 showing from beyond the 3-point line (.308) while allowing opponents to tally a 39.5 field goal percentage (650-of-1647) with a 30.1 performance from 3-point land (146-of-485). Golden Eagle foes are averaging 64.3 points, 41.9 rebounds, 14.4 assists, 9.1 steals and 3.6 blocks per game.
Sunday's game marks 62nd meeting between Tulane and Southern Miss on the hardwood, and the Golden Eagles hold a 34-27 advantage in the all-time series. While Southern Miss holds the edge all time, Tulane has won 20 of the last 30 match-ups dating back to Stockton's first year as head coach in 1994-95.
The series with the Golden Eagles is oldest in Tulane history among teams that play an average of once per season, and Tulane won the inaugural meeting 68-67 on Jan. 26, 1977, in then-Fogelman Arena. Tulane is 19-12 against Southern Miss in New Orleans, but Southern Miss won the last game time the two teams played in what is now Devlin Fieldhouse, posting an 86-81 overtime victory on Jan. 20, 2011. That was the first of two-straight losses to the Golden Eagles as the Green Wave dropped the lone match-up a year ago, 56-51, on Feb. 19, 2012, in Hattiesburg, Miss. Tulane's last win in the series came on Jan. 23, 2010, when the Green Wave emerged with an 80-63 home victory.
Following Sunday's game against Southern Miss, Tulane will close out the regular-season on Friday, March 8, when the Green Wave travel to El Paso, Texas, to square off against defending C-USA regular-season and tournament champion UTEP at 8 p.m. in the Don Haskins Center. From there, Tulane will head to Tulsa, Okla., for the 2013 Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship, which will run from March 13-16.
Already armed with a first-round bye, the Green Wave will look to advance to the title game for the fourth-consecutive season and claim their first title since 2010. The winner of the C-USA Championship receives the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Where To Watch: For fans who cannot make it to Devlin Fieldhouse for Sunday's "Senior Day" showdown against Conference USA foe Southern Miss, the game will be televised live on the CBS Sports Network. Viewers in the New Orleans area can find that station on Cox Communication channels 315 (SD) and 1315 (HD), DirecTV channel 613 (SD & HD), Dish Network channel 158 (SD & HD), and AT&T U-verse channels 643 (SD) and 1643 (HD). To find CBS Sports Network outside of the New Orleans viewing area, click HERE.