March 26, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Already treading into unchartered waters, the Tulane University women's basketball team will look to keep its historic march going when the Green Wave head to Alabama for a third-round WNIT match up against the Auburn Tigers on Wednesday, March 27, at 6 p.m. (CDT) in Auburn Arena.
Playing in the third round of a postseason tournament for the first time in program history, Tulane heads to The Heart of Dixie with a 24-8 overall record which includes a 65-57 win over Sam Houston on March 21 in the opening round of the 2013 WNIT and a 60-48 second-round victory at Arkansas on Sunday. The contest between the Tulane and Tigers is a rematch of a regular-season contest which saw Auburn rally from a 16-point first-half deficit to claim a 70-65 win over the Green Wave back on Nov. 28 in Devlin Fieldhouse.
Second-Half Swoon Costs Women's Basketball In 70-65 Loss To Auburn
It was a tale of two halves for the Green Wave and when the final horn sounded, they were no longer undefeated as the Tulane University women's basketball team dropped a 70-65 decision to Auburn on Wednesday evening in Devlin Fieldhouse.
"Our game at Arkansas was such a well-played game on our part as far as getting contributions from the bench and getting leadership from our seniors. It's exciting to see what kind of run we can make."
Wednesday's game will be broadcast live on the flagship radio station of Tulane basketball, WMTI 106.1 FM The Ticket, and audio streaming is available on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to paid members of the All-Access Pass. In addition, live video will be provided for free on the Tulane website and live stats are provided complimentary via GameTracker.
As a team, the Green Wave are averaging 66.6 points, 41.9 rebounds, 16.3 assists, 9.2 steals and 4.4 blocks per game. Redshirt-sophomore forward Whitney Bibbins leads the Tulane offense with 11.5 points per game while senior guard Olivia Grayson and sophomore guard Danielle Blagg follow closely with respective averages of 10.1 and 9.8. Sophomore forward Tiffany Dale paces the squad with 6.7 boards per game to go with a team-best 43 blocked shots, Grayson headlines the defense with 62 steals, and sophomore guard Jamie Kaplan leads the Green Wave with 140 assists.
"I feel like we need to have the same energy and enthusiasm that we had at Arkansas," Stockton said. "That was the key for that win - the intensity from our bench, the intensity on the floor. We didn't play a perfect game, but we played so well together. That's what it takes this time of year - finding a way. That's basically what it is and we have to find a way. It's certainly a tough challenge for us, too. This is two straight SEC teams on the road. That's a big challenge for your program."
Auburn, meanwhile, enters the third round of the 2013 WNIT 18-14 on the year with a share of 11th place in the regular-season Southeastern Conference standings with a 5-11 showing in league play. The Tigers, who will play their third straight postseason home contest, opened the WNIT with an 80-57 win over UAB on March 20 and advanced to the round of 16 via an 84-66 victory over Western Kentucky on March 24.
As a team, the Tigers are averaging 66.6 points, 38.2 rebounds, 15.9 assists, 12.0 steals and 4.5 blocks per contest. Hasina Muhammad leads Auburn in scoring with a 14.5 point-per-game average while Tyrese Tanner and Blanche Alverson follow with averages of 13.8 and 12.6, respectively. Alverson paces the squad with 6.1 rebounds per game, Muhammad sports a team-high 39 blocked shots and Najat Ouardad headlines the squad with 168 assists and 80 steals.
Auburn is hitting 43.0 percent of its shots from the field, connecting on 842-of-1959 attempts, including a 114-of-361 showing from beyond the 3-point stripe (.316), while allowing opponents to tally a 37.6 field goal percentage (677-of-1801) with a 33.8 performance from 3-point land (226-of-669). Tiger foes are averaging 61.3 points, 36.8 rebounds, 13.7 assists, 8.5 steals and 2.3 blocks per game.
"One thing they've done well in the WNIT is creating turnovers," Stockton said of Auburn. "They've won two games over two very good teams by creating turnovers and scoring off of them. Also, they've been very aggressive on the boards. Those are two things that we're going to have to take care of. We took care of the ball at our place until the last three minutes, and that's what cost us the game. We have to learn from that mistake going into this."
Wednesday's game marks the fifth time that Tulane and Auburn will meet on the hardwood, and the Green Wave trail 1-3 in the all-time series. The two teams first met on Dec. 13, 1998 when Tulane defeated Auburn, 64-53, in then-Fogelman Arena. The Tigers have won the last three head-to-head matchups, posting a 75-64 overtime win on Jan. 5, 2003, in Auburn, a 54-37 victory on Dec. 5, 2004, in New Orleans and a five-point contest earlier this season.
In that game, the Green Wave shot 55.6 percent from the field in the first half - including five 3-pointers - to take a 39-23 lead into the locker room at halftime. After the break, however, the Tigers scored the first 12 points of the second stanza and outscored Tulane 9-3 over the final two minutes to emerge victorious.
"That game was so early in the season and I think both teams are different. Although we know the personnel and we remember what we did well and not well, it'll be a different game. Both teams have matured. I think it probably has our players' attention a little more because we have played them and it was one that got away from us. Again, at this point of the season, this game is a chance to get to the Elite 8. What's probably the biggest focus for us is what this game can mean for us."
The winner of Wednesday's Tulane/Auburn contest will advance to the fourth round of the WNIT where it will take on the winner of the Drexel/Bowling Green contest. Game times, dates and locations for the fourth-round contests have yet to be determined.