Nov. 9, 2000
NEW ORLEANS, La. - - The Tulane women's basketball team opens the 2000-01 campaign on Friday, as the Green Wave play host to Grambling State in the first round of the Preseason Women's National Invitational Tournament at Fogelman Arena. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Tulane is coming off a 27-5 season that saw the Green Wave capture its second straight Conference USA Tournament title and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Wave ended the 2000 season ranked 22nd by the Associated Press and 24th by the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. This season, the Wave are receiving votes in the preseason editions of both polls. Tulane is ranked 25th in Street & Smith's preseason poll. The Wave's leading returning scorer is senior Janell Burse, who averaged 18.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest last season. She earned a spot on the All-Conference USA first team and was the league's Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, Burse was named the Most Valuble Player of the C-USA Tournament, while picking up All-America honors from both the Associated Press (honorable mention) and the Women's Basketball Journal (fourth team). This season, Burse is a second-team preseason All-American by the WBJ and is an honorable mention selection to Street & Smith's preseason All-America list.
Grambling returns three starters from last season's 25-5 team that reached the finals of the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament. Guard Shrieka Evans led the Tigers in scoring last season with an 18.9 points per game average after leading the nation in three-pointers made per game (4.0).
Friday's game marks the first meeting between the two in-state rivals in 17 years. The two teams have met just twice on the court, with Grambling taking wins in both meetings. The Tigers were 80-66 winners in 1981 before claiming a 76-62 triumph in 1983.
This season's appearance marks Tulane's second-ever appearance in the Preseason WNIT. The Wave met in-state rival Louisiana Tech in the 1996 tournament, dropping a 77-50 decision to the Lady Techsters. Tulane went on to post a 27-5 record that season, winning both the Conference USA regular-season and Tournament titles.
Tulane has played one exhibition so far this season, posting a 97-62 win over the Mississippi All-Stars in Fogelman Arena on Thursday, Nov. 2. Burse led the Wave with 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting. The senior center also grabbed nine rebounds. Sophomore Teana McKiver, making her Tulane debut after transferring from East Carolina, scored 13 points and pulled down nine rebounds, while also blocking an impressive eight shots against the All-Stars.
Should Tulane win its first-round contest against Grambling, the Wave would face the winner of the Texas-Wichita State game at a site to be determined.