April 20, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - On the surface, the 2012-13 Tulane women's basketball season was one that relied heavily on senior leadership. With a quartet of student-athletes in their fourth year on the roster, the Green Wave had plenty of returning veterans on the squad, but that did not tell the complete story of a season that saw Tulane finish 24-9 and make history by advancing to the third round of a postseason tournament for the first time in program history.
Seniors Olivia Grayson, Janique Kautsky, Brittany McDonald and Tyria Snow all contributed heavily to the success of the squad, but the year was more of a coming-of-age story for the rest of the team as Danielle Blagg, Tiffany Dale, Adesuwa Ebomwonyi, Jamie Kaplan and Katye Magee made strides from solid rookie campaigns the previous season while Whitney Bibbins returned after missing all of the 2011-12 season due to injury. In addition, the Green Wave got big boosts from freshmen Chinwe Duru and Tierra Jones in key moments to help the team advance to the round of 16 in the 2013 WNIT.
The Green Wave opened the year in fine fashion, winning their first five games and defeating in-state rival LSU, 66-64 in overtime, to post their third-straight win over the Tigers to run Tulane's record to 7-1. Following a loss, the Wave won their final four non-conference contests before dropping their C-USA opener at home to SMU on Jan. 10. Undaunted, Tulane went on to post an 11-5 mark in league play - including a thrilling 73-68, come-from-behind win at SMU on Feb. 28 - to finish tied for second in the final C-USA regular-season standings.
The team's stay in the conference championship was a short one, however, as host Tulsa downed Tulane in the quarterfinals, 75-67, en route to taking home the tournament title, but the Green Wave got new life when the team was selected to participate in the 2013 WNIT.
Tulane won its home game against Sam Houston State, 65-57, on March 21, and made program history three days later when the Green Wave walked out of Bud Walton Arena with a 60-48 victory over Arkansas. Not only was it the team's first road win in postseason play, but it also marked the first time Tulane won a pair of games after conference tournament action. The season, however, ended one game later as homestanding Auburn defeated the Green Wave 75-52 on March 27.
The Green Wave's 24 wins marked the fourth-straight season with 20-plus victories - a feat last accomplished in 2002 when Tulane capped a streak of seven consecutive 20-plus win campaigns.
Grayson, who was a mainstay on the court during all four of her collegiate seasons, made history of her own as she became the only player in school history to finish ranked in the top 10 career categories in points (1442), rebounds (750), assists (499) and steals (249). She set a Tulane career record in games played (134) while finishing second in assists, games started (116) and minutes played (4,121), third in minutes per game (30.8), fourth in assists per game (3.7), steals and field goal attempts (1,349), sixth in total rebounds and defensive rebounds (539), seventh in points scored, free throws made (355) and free throw attempts (462), ninth in steals per game (1.9), tied for ninth in field goals made (487), 10th in 3-point attempts (380), 11th in 3-point baskets (113), offensive rebounds (211) and blocked shots (57), 12th in free throw percentage (.768), 14th in rebounds per game, 16th in 3-point percentage (.297) and blocks per game (0.4), and 18th in points per game.
Fellow seniors Kautsky and Snow also left their marks in the Tulane record book as Kautsky finished tied for 15th in career games played (120), 17th in 3-point percentage (.291), 19th in 3-point baskets (55) and 3-point attempts (189) and 23rd in blocked shots (29) while Snow ranks tied for 17th in games played (118), 18th in assists (254), 21st in steals (124), 23rd in free throw percentage (.708) and 24th in assists per game (2.2).
Blagg, who was the C-USA Freshman of the Year in 2011-12, led the team in 3-point baskets (64) and 3-point percentage (.350) while sitting second in points scored (314) and field goals made (111), third in points per game (9.8) and rebounds (125), tied for third in blocked shots (17), fourth in rebounds per game (3.9) and minutes per game (22.9), and fifth in both assists (30) and steals (26) to mark her second-straight stellar season.
The 2012-13 campaign also saw the emergence of sophomores Tiffany Dale and Jamie Kaplan. Dale started 32 of 33 games in the post and led the team in field goal percentage (.505), rebounds (219), rebounds per game (6.6) and blocked shots (44) while sitting third in free throws made (45) and steals (39), and fourth in points scored (251), points per game (7.6) and field goals made (103). Kaplan, meanwhile, paced the squad in assists (145) and ranked third in free throw percentage (.772), fourth in 3-point baskets (11) and free throws made (44) while averaging 5.0 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. She led C-USA in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.0) and was third in assists per game (4.4). Her assist total ranks seventh in Tulane single-season history.
The Green Wave are expected to return nine of 13 lettermen from a season ago in 2013-14, including three-of-five starters, and will get the added benefit of center Morgan Rogers - who redshirted as a true freshman - as well as the influx of true freshmen Paije Hall (Lafayette, La.), Courtnie Latham (Houston, Texas) and Leslie Vorpahl (San Antonio, Texas).