Nov. 8, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University women's basketball season will look to open a new era in style as the Green Wave open the 2012-13 season against Louisiana Tech at the newly named and refurbished Devlin Fieldhouse. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Season openers have been good to the Green Wave as Tulane is 22-15 all-time, including a 13-5 mark at home. Tomorrow's game in Devlin Fieldhouse is the first by any of the University's programs, and the Wave will look to claim their eighth-straight win to open a season dating back to the 2005-06 campaign
Benzio, Grayson Lift Women's Hoops Past Louisiana Tech, 61-52
Senior center Brett Benzio had a double-double with 16 points and 16 rebounds, and junior guard Olivia Grayson had a team-leading 19 points, as the Tulane University women's basketball team defeated Louisiana Tech, 61-52, Friday evening at the Thomas Assembly Center.
The Green Wave enter the season opener against the Lady Techsters with high hopes as Tulane returns eight players with starting experience among 10 letterwinners from the 2011-12 squad which finished 23-11 overall, finished tied for third in the Conference USA regular-season standings with a 9-7 league mark, made it to the C-USA Championship title game for the third-consecutive year and advanced to the second round of the WNIT for the second-straight season.
As a team, the Green Wave averaged 62.0 points, 40.2 rebounds, 14.9 assists, 9.5 steals and 4.8 blocks per game a year ago. Senior Olivia Grayson is back after leading the team in scoring with 13.8 points per game last season and also pacing the squad with 119 assists and 78 steals. Sophomore Adesuwa Ebomwonyi is the Wave's top returning rebounder with a mark of 5.7, and sophomore Tiffany Dale represents the best returning shot blocker with 27 swats last year.
"I think we are ready, we are obviously excited about opening the season, opening up the new Fieldhouse, being the first team in there, but with this team coming back with so many returners, they're excited to throw the ball up and start the season.
"This year is different from last year. Last year we had so many newcomers learning the system. This year we were able to progress a little quicker. We scrimmaged (last) weekend and I was really happy with our effort - just a lot of good things on defense - so we're coming together quickly. Early in the season I think we'll be better than last year."
Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, comes to town with a relatively new squad as the Lady Techsters will have to replace seven of its 12 players from last year's team which finished 17-15 overall and 8-6 in Western Athletic Conference play.
As a team, Louisiana Tech averaging 66.6 points, 38.2 rebounds, 14.8 assists, 7.5 steals and 2.8 blocks per game. The Lady Techsters' top three scorers have all graduated and Whitney Frazier is the top returner after averaging 9.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per outing a year ago. To make up for the losses, Louisiana Tech has added three junior-college players and a pair of true freshman. In addition, Clemson transfer Kelia Shelton will be on the active roster this season after sitting out the 2011-12 season due to NCAA rules.
Louisiana Tech connected at a .412 clip from the field in 2011-12, hitting 797-of-1935 shots from the floor, and 160-of-496 shots from beyond the 3-point arc (.323), while allowing opponents to shoot .408 overall (762-of-1866) and .292 from 3-point land (133-of-456). Lady Techster opponents, meanwhile, averaged 66.2 points, 39.6 rebounds, 11.1 assists, 8.8 steals and 3.6 blocks last year.
"They are going to be a very different team this year," Stockton said. "They lost four starters, but they've reloaded well. The coaching staff up there does a really good job recruiting for the system, and we don't really know what to expect. I always expect pressure defense and a very high up-tempo game from them, so we are just going to have to be ready to react, respond, and all play Tulane basketball."
Friday's game marks the 10th time Tulane and Louisiana Tech will meet on the hardwood and the Lady Techsters hold a commanding 8-1 advantage in the all-time series. The two teams, however, will be seeing a lot more of each other in the coming years as Tech is one of six schools scheduled to join C-USA for the 2013-14 academic campaign.
The series dates back to the first season of Tulane women's hoops when Louisiana Tech earned a 99-52 victory on Feb. 22, 1977, in the LAIAW State Tournament in Ruston, La. The Green Wave are 0-3 against the Lady Techsters in New Orleans, falling 92-62 on March 3, 1988, and 78-72 on Dec. 17, 2010, in old Fogelman Arena, and 68-53 on Dec. 7, 2002 in the New Orleans Arena. Under head coach Lisa Stockton, Tulane is 1-4 against the Lady Techsters, including the lone win in the series after defeating Louisiana Tech 61-52 last Dec. 2, in Ruston.
"I think this is a team that could be a potential rival for us, but, it's a great tradition for women's basketball," Stockton added. "Starting off the season with a quality opponent, it's going to be a great game, and I hope that we can get some people in the stands and that we can show off and show these people what we can do."
Season tickets for the 2012-13 Tulane women's basketball season will cost $100 for floor seats, $85 for reserved courtside and $50 for end-court general admission. For additional information, contact the Tulane Atheltics Ticket Office in person on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center. Information is also available over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.