March 4, 2011
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University women's basketball team will close out the 2010-11 regular season on Saturday, March 5, when the Green Wave travel to The Lone Star State to take on Conference USA foe Houston at 2 p.m. at Hofheinz Pavilion.
Tulane is 24-14 all-time in regular-season finales and holds a 13-3 mark in said games under head coach Lisa Stockton, including a 66-64 win at UTEP on March 3 a year ago. This time around, however, the Green Wave will face a tough task as the team will be facing a Cougar team that has already wrapped up the regular-season C-USA crown, is ranked No. 24 in the nation in the most recent ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and will be celebrating `Senior Day'.
The Green Wave head to Houston, 20-8 on the year, 9-6 in league play and riding the crest of a three-game winning streak after defeating Memphis, Rice and Tulsa their last three times out. Tulane already has a first-round in next week's Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship courtesy of its 73-62 win over Tulsa last Sunday in Fogelman Arena, but a win over the Cougars would give the Green Wave the No. 3 seed. If Tulane falls at Houston, however, the Wave would be the No. 4 seed.
As a team, Tulane is averaging 72.2 points, 37.9 rebounds, 16.4 assists, 10.1 steals and 5.0 blocks per game. Senior forward Danielle Nunn is one of five players averaging double figures and leads the team with 15.1 points per game. Fellow seniors Tiffany Aidoo and Roshaunda Barnes follow Nunn's lead with respective scoring averages of 13.1 and 12.4. Junior center Brett Benzio paces the squad with 7.0 rebounds per game and has a team-best 65 blocks. Barnes headlines the team with 140 assists and 84 steals.
Tulane is connecting at a .437 clip from the field, hitting 741-of-1697 shots from the floor and 124-of-402 shots from beyond the 3-point arc (.308), while allowing opponents to shoot .389 overall (660-of-1697) and .330 from 3-point land (147-of-446). Green Wave opponents are averaging 64.5 points, 40.1 rebounds, 13.3 assists, 7.6 steals and 2.6 blocks per game.
Houston, meanwhile, enters the final game of the 2010-11 regular season 24-4 on the year, a perfect 15-0 in C-USA action, and riding the crest of a 15-game winning streak since the start of league play back on Jan. 6.
As a team, the Cougars are averaging 74.8 points, 44.3 rebounds, 12.9 assists, 10.5 steals and 4.9 blocks per game. Brittney Scott is one of five Houston players averaging double-figure scoring totals with 15.9 per game while Courtney Taylor is averaging a double-double for the year with 15.6 points and a team-best 11.4 rebounds per contest. Porsche Landry paces the Cougars with 111 assists, Taylor headlines the squad with 56 steals and Lesslee Mason has a team-high 48 blocked shots.
Houston is hitting 40.3 percent of its shots from the field, connecting on 717-of-1780 attempts, including a 148-of-430 showing from beyond the 3-point line (.344). The Cougars' defense has allowed opponents to tally a 36.9 shooting percentage (660-of-1790) and a .305 clip from 3-point land (146-of-478). Houston's opponents are averaging 65.1 points, 42.0 rebounds, 11.5 assists, 8.6 steals and 4.9 blocks per game.
Saturday's game marks the 29th meeting between Tulane and Houston on the hardwood, and the Green Wave hold a 17-11 advantage in the all-time series. Tulane is 16-10 against the Cougars under head coach Lisa Stockton, and all of those games have come since Houston joined Conference USA for its second season in 1996-97.
While Tulane leads the all-time series, Houston has held a distinct advantage recently as the Cougars have now won five straight against the Green Wave and six of the last seven head-to-head matchups.
Tulane is 7-5 against Houston in games played at Hofheinz Pavilion, but the Cougars have won the last three meetings on their home court. The last time Tulane defeated Houston came via a 73-69 decision on Feb. 16, 2008, in New Orleans. The last time the Green Wave downed the Cougars on their own floor was back on Feb. 1, 2007, when Tulane earned a 71-56 ballgame.
Following Sunday's game in Houston, Tulane will head to El Paso, Texas, for the 2010 C-USA Women's Basketball Championship. The event runs from March 9-12, and the winner of the tournament will received the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.