March 18, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University women's basketball team will play in the postseason for the fourth consecutive year as the Green Wave claimed an at-large bid to the 2013 Women's National Invitation Tournament. The Green Wave will open WNIT action on Thursday, March 21, when they play host to Sam Houston at 7 p.m. in Devlin Fieldhouse.
The trip to the WNIT is the third in as many years for Tulane following 1-1 showings in the event in each of the previous two seasons and a berth in the NCAA Tournament in 2010. The WNIT invite marks the first time the Green Wave earned four consecutive postseason bids since making capping a 10-year run with a trip to the NCAAs in 2003. It is also the program's 15th overall postseason bid - 14 of which have come under head coach Lisa Stockton's direction - and fifth trip to the WNIT as Tulane also played in the event in 1994 and 2007.
"We're excited for the opportunity to keep playing and being able to finish the season on a high note," Stockton said. "Playing at home, especially in a tournament this large, gives you an advantage in trying to advance. I think it's always great to play home. To have our fans be a part of the postseason makes it a little more special."
Tickets to Thursday's WNIT contest are available through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office with student tickets selling for $4, while general admission, reserved/chairback and floor seats are available for $6, $12 and $16, respectively. The Tulane Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center, and tickets can be purchased in person or over the phone at (504) 861-WAVE (9283).
For fans unable to attend the opening-round WNIT contest, the game will be broadcast live on the flagship station of Tulane basketball, The Ticket 106.1 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 Internet via GameTracker.
"I think the conference was tremendously competitive this year from top to bottom," Stockton added. "It's a shame that we only got one team into the NCAA Tournament. The strength of our conference almost hurt us because we knocked each other out of contention."
Tulane enters the 2013 WNIT with a 22-8 overall record and finished tied for second in the Conference USA regular-season standings with an 11-5 mark in league play. As a team, the Green Wave are averaging 66.8 points, 41.9 rebounds, 16.4 assists, 9.3 steals and 4.3 blocks per game. Redshirt-sophomore forward Whitney Bibbins leads the team with a 12.0 point-per-game average while senior Olivia Grayson and sophomore Danielle Blagg follow with identical marks of 10.2 each. Sophomore forward Tiffany Dale has a team-best 6.9 rebounds per game and paces the squad with 42 blocks, Grayson leads the Wave with 56 steals, and sophomore guard Jamie Kaplan headlines the club with 128 assists.
Tulane is connecting at a .403 clip from the field in 2012-13, hitting 735-of-1822 shots from the floor and 158-of-478 shots from beyond the 3-point arc (.331), while allowing opponents to shoot .374 overall (659-of-1763) and .300 from 3-point land (155-of-516). Green Wave opponents, meanwhile, are averaging 60.2 points, 37.2 rebounds, 13.1 assists, 8.7 steals and 2.9 blocks per game.
Thursday's WNIT matchup with Sam Houston State marks the third meeting between the two schools and the all-time series is tied at 1-1. The Bearkats are 18-14 to date and claimed an automatic bid to the WNIT by virtue of their share of the regular-season Southland Conference crown after going 13-5 in league play.
Tulane is 4-5 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 three trips to the WNIT, defeating Jackson State 76-43 on March 14, 2007, downing Southern 63-31 on March 17, 2011, and earning a 68-61 win over Mississippi Valley State on March 15, 2012.
The winner of the Tulane/Sam Houston State contest will advance to take on the winner of the Arkansas/Memphis game, which will take place on Thursday in Fayetteville, Ark. All WNIT games are played at home sites and the six-round, single-elimination tournament will culminated with the championship game on Saturday, April 6. That contest will be televised live on the CBS Sports Network.