March 10, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - With the 2013 Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship slated to begin on Wednesday, Tulane University standouts Danielle Blagg and Olivia Grayson got some good news as the Green Wave duo claimed all-conference honors.
Blagg, a sophomore guard from San Antonio, Texas, and Grayson, a senior guard from Metairie, La., were both named second-team All-Conference USA, marking the fourth-consecutive season that Tulane had at least two players on the all-league squad. The 2013 honor is the second all-conference selection for Grayson, who earned first-team honors a year ago. Blagg, meanwhile is the only non-junior or senior to earn All C-USA honors and becomes the first Tulane sophomore to claim all-league recognition since Janell Burse in 1999.
"I'm happy that they were recognized by the conference," Tulane head women's basketball coach Lisa Stockton said. "There are a lot of great players in our league, but those two have not only been very important to our successful season but also very consistent as well."
Grayson earn All C-USA honors after starting all 29 regular-season games, leading the team in steals (56), free throws made (68), free throw percentage (.800), minutes played (841) and minutes per game (29.0) while sitting second in points scored (282), assists (102), rebounds (182) and rebounds per game (6.3), tied for second in blocked shots (15), and third in points per game (9.7), field goals made (95) and 3-point baskets (24).
She scored in double figures 15 times, pulled down five or more rebounds on 21 occasions with a pair of 10-board outings, and handed our four or more assists 15 times while posting 16 multiple-steal and two multiple-block ballgames. Grayson scored a season-high 20 points against Tulsa on Feb. 24 and at UTEP on March 8, and completed a double-double with a season-high tying 10 rebounds against the Golden Hurricane. She also posted season highs with seven assists and three blocks vs. Memphis on Jan. 20, and four steals on five occasions.
"She's one of those player that does everything well," Stockton said. "We've always talked about her being a well-rounded player and we use her in so many aspects of the game whether it be rebounds, steals or defense. It's not just her scoring. She's had a tremendous senior year and this is a very deserving award."
Blagg, meanwhile, played in 28 games with 11 starts during the regular season. The C-USA Freshman of the Year last season, she leads the team in points scored (293), 3-point baskets (61) and 3-point percentage (.377) while sitting second in points per game (10.5) and field goals made (102), third in rebounds (113), fourth in blocked shots (14), rebounds per game (4.0) and minutes per game (22.9), and fifth in assists (27), steals (22) and minutes played (641).
She posted double-digit scoring totals on 14 occasions with a pair of 20-point outings and pulled down five or more rebounds six times while posting eight multiple-assist, eight multiple-steal and a pair of multiple-block contests. Scored a career-high 26 points after draining 8-of-13 3-pointers and a pair of free throw tries at Marshall on Jan. 13, and tied career high in rebounds with nine boards vs. Memphis on Jan. 20 and against East Carolina on Jan. 27.
Blagg was named C-USA Player of the Week on March 3 after averaging 18.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per outing during Tulane's road win at SMU and home victory over Southern Miss.
"It is more difficult for a guard as a sophomore to be in that elite company," Stockton added. "She's had a tremendous year and has improved so much from last year. She's played so big in big games for us."
Grayson, Blagg and the Green Wave return to action on Thursday, March 15, when they open play in the 2013 Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship. Tulane is the tournament's No. 3 seed, earned a first-round bye and will take on the winner of host and the Tulsa/Rice contest in the quarterfinals with tipoff time slated for 5 p.m. The winner of the C-USA Championship will earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.