Junior point guard Jamie Kaplan and the Green Wave earned an at-large bid to the 2014 WNIT and will play at Mississippi State on Thursday.
March 17, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University women's basketball team will play in the postseason for the fifth consecutive year as the Green Wave claimed an at-large bid to the 2014 Women's National Invitation Tournament. The Wave will open WNIT action on Thursday, March 20, when they travel to Starkville, Miss., to take on Mississippi State.
The trip to the WNIT is the fourth in as many years for Tulane following a trip to the round of 16 in 2013 and consecutive 1-1 showings in both 2011 and 2012. The Green Wave's current postseason streak began in 2010 with an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. The 2014 WNIT invite marks the first time the Green Wave earned five consecutive postseason bids since making capping a 10-year run with a trip to the NCAAs in 2003. It is also the program's 16th overall postseason bid - 15 of which have come under head coach Lisa Stockton's direction - and sixth trip to the WNIT as Tulane also played in the event in 1994 and 2007.
"We are excited to be in WNIT and play in the postseason another year," Stockton said. "We get at least one more chance to play this season and we hope to really take advantage of this opportunity like we did last year. We play an SEC opponent in Mississippi State, and they are a team we are somewhat familiar with after scrimmaging them in the preseason. They are a very athletic and focus on their pressure defense."
Thursday's Green Wave/Bulldogs matchup will be broadcast live on the flagship radio station of Tulane women's basketball, WRBH 88.3 FM, and both live audio and video are available on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to paid members of the All-Access Pass. In addition, live stats are provided for free on the web via GameTracker.
The Green Wave are one of seven Conference USA teams to earn a spot in the postseason as Middle Tennessee claimed a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament while Charlotte, East Carolina, Old Dominion, Southern Miss and UTEP will join Tulane in the WNIT.
"It's great to see Conference USA represented so prominently in these postseason tournaments," Stockton added. "I think that's a tribute to the strength of our league. I'm proud to have our team not only among those seven teams but also to be making our fifth consecutive postseason appearance."
Tulane enters the 2014 WNIT with a 20-10 overall record and finished fourth in the Conference USA regular-season standings with an 11-5 mark in league play. As a team, the Green Wave are averaging 68.7 points, 41.2 rebounds, 16.3 assists, 8.2 steals and 4.1 blocks per game. Junior guard Danielle Blagg leads the Tulane offense with 12.1 points per game while junior forward Tiffany Dale and junior point guard Jamie Kaplan follow closely with respective averages of 12.0 and 11.5. Dale paces the Wave with 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots per outing, Kaplan has a team-best 6.8 assists-per-game average, and junior wing Adesuwa Ebomwonyi headlines the defense with 1.4 steals per contest.
Tulane is connecting at a .417 clip from the field in 2013-14, hitting 731-of-1752 total shots and 147-of-458 shots from beyond the 3-point arc (.321), while allowing opponents to shoot .385 overall (683-of-1776) and .296 from 3-point land (165-of-554). Green Wave opponents, meanwhile, are averaging 63.3 points, 37.1 rebounds, 13.5 assists, 8.1 steals and 2.8 blocks per game.
Thursday's WNIT matchup with Mississippi State marks the 10th meeting between the two schools and Tulane leads in the all-time series, 5-4. The Bulldogs earned an at-large bid to the WNIT by virtue of their 19-13 overall record while finishing with a 5-11 mark in Southeastern Conference action.
Tulane is 6-6 all-time in WNIT contests. The 1994 trip to the then NWIT marked the Green Wave's first-ever postseason appearance as then-head coach Candi Harvey led her team to a 78-75 win over ULM in the opening round before dropping 72-66 and 71-66 decisions to Arkansas State and Pittsburgh, respectively, in Amarillo, Texas. Tulane hosted first-round games in each of their last four trips to the WNIT, defeating Jackson State 76-43 on March 14, 2007, downing Southern 63-31 on March 17, 2011, earning a 68-61 win over Mississippi Valley State on March 15, 2012, and posting a 65-57 victory over Sam Houston State on May 21, 2013.
The winner of the Tulane/Mississippi State contest will advance to take on the winner of the Southern Miss/Lamar game, which will take place on Thursday in Hattiesburg, Miss. All WNIT games are played at home sites and the six-round, single-elimination tournament will culminated with the championship game on Saturday, April 5. That contest will be televised live on the CBS Sports Network.