May 29, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - With Tulane University Athletics poised to make its debut in the American Athletic Conference for the 2014-15 academic year, the Green Wave women's basketball team got a sneak peek at its league opponents as The American released its conference slate for the upcoming campaign on Thursday afternoon.
In an 11-team league that features nine teams that were previously members of Conference USA, the Green Wave will play home-and-home games against UConn, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, SMU, South Florida, Temple and Tulsa. Tulane will also host Memphis and play at Cincinnati in the teams' lone meetings of the 2014-15 season to round out the 18-game conference tilt.
The American teams will play the same home-and-home opponents over the course of two years in the current model with the single-game opponents switching sites in 2015-16. The complete 2014 women's basketball schedule will be announced in August.
The league also released its format for the 2015 American Women's Basketball Championship, which will be held from March 6-9, 2015, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The event will feature all 11 teams and will be seeded 1-11. The tournament will begin on Thursday with matchups between the No. 9 and No. 8 seeds, No. 10 and No. 7 seeds and No. 11 and No. 6 seeds. The winners will advance to meet the first, second and third seeds, respectively, on Friday. Also playing on day two will be the No. 5 and No. 4 seeds. The top five seeds in the championship will receive byes into Saturday's quarterfinal round. The ESPN Networks will provide television and digital coverage of the tournament.
Tulane is one of three teams to join The American for its second season on the court, joining 2013-14 C-USA opponents East Carolina and Tulsa. The Green Wave have squared off against the bulk of their new league during their time in C-USA as Cincinnati, Memphis and South Florida were charter members of the league back in 1995 while Houston joined in 1996 and SMU came on board in 2005.
The Green Wave join The American following a 2013-14 season that saw Tulane post a 20-11 overall record, finish fourth in C-USA with an 11-5 league mark and advance to the WNIT. The team's win total and trip to the WNIT marked the fifth consecutive season the Wave won at least 20 games and earned a postseason bid.
Four Green Wave student-athletes picked up individual honors last season, including point guard Jamie Kaplan who claimed honorable-mention All-America recognition from the Associated Press after setting a Tulane single-season record with 209 assists. In addition, Kaplan was named second-team All C-USA and All-Louisiana for her accomplishments on the court while claiming spots on the Capital One Academic All-District VI and C-USA All-Academic Team for her effort in the classroom.
Guard Danielle Blagg joined Kaplan on the all-conference and all-state teams, earning second-team All C-USA and third-team All-Louisiana recognition. Forward Tiffany Dale was tabbed honorable-mention all-state, and guard Leslie Vorpahl garnered C-USA All-Freshman Team honors.
All told Tulane is scheduled to return 10 of 12 letterwinners from a year ago and those players combined to accounted for 97.9 percent of the offensive production (2083-of-2128 points), 98.7 percent of the rebounds (1258-of-1274 boards), 98.6 percent of the assists (494-of-501 dimes), 97.6 percent of the steals (247-of-253 thefts) and 98.5 percent of the blocked shots (129-of-131 swats) from the 2013-14 campaign.
Joining Blagg, Kaplan and Dale on the list of returnees are fellow rising seniors Adesuwa Ebomwonyi and Brook LaFloe, rising juniors Chinwe Duru and Tierra Jones, and rising sophomores Vorpahl, Courtnie Latham and Morgan Rogers.
In addition, forward Paije Hall is expected to make her collegiate debut after missing her true freshman season with an Achilles injury while Tulane will welcome the talents of incoming freshmen Kolby Morgan (New Orleans, La./John Curtis Christian HS) and Caylah Cruickshank (Montreal, Quebec/Dawson College).