Kim McElwee talks with Ashley Westby and Jamie Kaplan during Wednesday's Mentoring Program mixer.
Oct. 28, 2011
NEW ORLEANS - Long considered a pillar in the women's basketball community due to her success as a head coach and the impact she has on each of her players, Green Wave head coach Lisa Stockton added a new bonus to the student-athlete experience with the start of the Tulane Women's Basketball Mentoring Program earlier in the week.
The Mentoring Program, which is the brainchild of Stockton herself, is designed to pair each of the Tulane women's hoops players with local professionals from all walks of life in order to help guide them into their post-playing careers. The program took its first step on Wednesday, Oct. 26, when the 2011-12 Green Wave team met their mentors in a mixer hosted by former Tulane volleyball coach and assistant director of athletics Betsy Laborde at her uptown home.
"I think this is a great program to get our young women to look ahead to their future careers, to network with people in the community and be inspired by successful, professional women in the New Orleans area," Stockton said. "In guiding a group of student-athletes, we do a lot of things in the community. We go out and do a lot of community service work and we do things with non-profit organizations.
"But sometimes, our players don't have the opportunity to meet the people that I do in this community. I go to dinners and I get to meet so many people in the business community. I know that there are so many impressive professionals in our community who can show our young ladies the many opportunities available. I felt like this program was a way that we can get them thinking about what they want to do after graduation."
The participants in the mentoring program include former Green Wave student-athletes Paula Brown, Monica Dove and Mashandra Hall. The group also includes Tulane graduates April Bretz, Allison Cannizaro, Liz Failla, Yvette Jones and Mari Kantro along with Gina Holland, Renee Lapeyrolerie, Missy McGuire, Suzanne Montero, Kim McElwee and Tracy Talbot.
The goal of Wednesday's gathering was the discuss the vision, mission and guidelines of the program along with introducing each mentor to their respective student-athletes and give them an opportunity to interact. A second event scheduled for later in the season will be an opportunity for them to share with the team and the staff what the players gained throughout their mentoring experience.
The mentoring program will provide a job-shadowing opportunity for the student-athletes to learn from their mentor's professional experience firsthand. The goal of the job shadow portion is to provide the student-athletes with a true vision of the real world of business and allow them to observe a successful female leader in the New Orleans community.
"This is a very impressive group of local professionals and they will no doubt be great role models for the young women on the team," Stockton said. "They all seem really excited to be a part of this and are embracing their roles within the mentoring program."
The 2011-12 Tulane women's basketball returns seven letterwinners from a year ago when the Wave went 23-11 overall, finished tied for fourth in the C-USA regular-season standings with a 9-7 league record, advanced to the C-USA Championship title game for the second consecutive season and earned a bid to the WNIT.
Three players - senior Brett Benzio, junior Olivia Grayson and sophomore Whitney Bibbins - bring starting experience, while juniors Janique Kautsky and Tyria Snow along with sophomores Brittany McDonald and Brooke Blankenship provided depth off the bench.
The 2011-12 team welcomes back the services of three players who redshirted as true freshmen last year - Katye Magee, Rhea Nelson and Ashley Westby - and the Green Wave added incoming freshmen Danielle Blagg, Tiffany Dale, Adesuwa Ebomwonyi and Jamie Kaplan for the upcoming season.
Season tickets for the 2011-12 Tulane women's basketball season are now for sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. Floor seats are $100 with reserved courtside and end-court general admission going for $85 and $50, respectively. The Tulane Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center on Ben Weiner Drive, and tickets can be purchased in person, over the phone by calling 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.