Nov. 27, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University women's basketball team returns to action on Wednesday, Nov. 28, when the Green Wave play host to Auburn in Devlin Fieldhouse. Tipoff is slated for 7:07 p.m. and the game will be broadcast regionally on Cox Sports Television.
To help show support for the Wave, fans are asked to wear green in an attempt to "Green Out" the Fieldhouse. The contest against the Tigers is the first home game for the Green Wave since the season opener back on Nov. 9 and Tulane has played well on the road with four straight wins to stand at 5-0 on the year for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.
With the return to Devlin and the television crew on hand, head coach Lisa Stockton said it would be an added bonus for her team to have a large crowd on hand. In addition, Tulane will have a chance to keep its unbeaten streak alive but will have to overcome a quality opponent from a quality conference to do so.
"This is a great venue when you have a crowd to give you an advantage," Stockton said of being back in Devlin Fieldhouse. "The big thing is TV shows off our program. Hopefully, we can have some students and some people in the stands that can come support the team and show just how strong of a program we have.
"I think to get noticed, you have to beat teams from big conferences. In our next three games, we have a chance to go against two good SEC opponents and we have to do well against them. If we want to establish ourselves as one of the best teams, we have to beat teams that are in strong conferences."
Tulane enters Wednesday fresh off a 2-0 weekend when the Green Wave defeated Bradley and Western Michigan to take home the Hilton Garden Inn Thanksgiving Tournament title in Flagstaff, Ariz.
As a team, the Green Wave are averaging 68.2 points, 41.4 rebounds, 15.8 assists, 8.8 steals and 4.0 blocks per game. Seniors Olivia Grayson and Janique Kautsky share team-high scoring honors with identical 9.6 point-per-game averages while sophomore forward Tiffany Dale is next with a mark of 9.0. Grayson also leads the team with 7.4 rebounds per outing and eight total steals, sophomore guard Jamie Kaplan has a team-best 20 assists, and Dale paces the squad with eight blocks.
"I think we're better," Stockton said of her team since the last time the Wave played at home. "I think we've made better decisions. Offensively, we're flowing a little bit better than we were then. Defensively, we've still got some work to do. I was glad to see our team be able to tighten up defensively when it counted. Even when Southern or Bradley made a run at us, I thought our defense really countered and we were able to finish those games off. I do think we're better. I think some players are getting some confidence and learning their roles."
Auburn, which Tulane has scrimmaged against prior to the 20010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, comes to town 4-2 on the year after going 1-1 last week at the Omni Hotels Classic in Boulder, Colo., falling to San Diego State 78-57 on Friday and downing Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 72-57 on Saturday.
As a team, the Tigers are averaging 74.0 points, 40.7 rebounds, 16.8 assists, 12.2 steals and 4.5 blocks per contest. Hasina Muhammad is one of three Auburn players averaging double-digit point-per-game outputs and leads the team with a 15.7 averaged while Tyrese Tanner and Blanche Alverson follow with respective averages of 14.5 and 10.0. Alverson paces the team with 5.8 rebounds per game and Najat Ourdad has team-high marks with 31 assists and 14 steals. Tanner and Alverson, meanwhile, share the lead in blocks with seven swats each.
Auburn is hitting 44.5 percent of its shots from the field, connecting on 171-of-384 attempts, including a 25-of-78 showing from beyond the 3-point line (.321) while allowing opponents to tally a 36.4 field goal percentage (127-of-349) with a 32.5 performance from 3-point land (50-of-154). Tigers' foes are averaging 58.0 points, 36.2 rebounds, 12.8 assists, 7.5 steals and 1.8 blocks per game.
"We're excited about playing an SEC opponent and one that a lot of our players are familiar with," Stockton added. "I think they're going to throw some things at us that we haven't seen. They do a lot of match-up zone and they're going to do a lot of zone pressure. We've been working on that and it's very similar to what LSU does now. We've got to be ready to change our style and our game plan a bit to be able to counter them."
Wednesday's game marks the fourth time Tulane and Auburn will meet on the hardwood and the Green Wave trail 1-2 in the all-time series. All three previous meetings have come under Stockton with the Tigers winning the last matchup, 54-37, on Dec. 5, 2004, in New Orleans.
The two teams first met on Dec. 13, 1998 when Tulane defeated Auburn, 64-53, in then-Fogelman Arena while the other meeting came on Jan. 5, 2003 when the Tigers posted a 75-64 overtime victory in Auburn, Ala.
The game against the Tigers is one of two straight home contests as the Green Wave will play UNC-Wilmington on Dec. 2. For tickets to those contests, as well as future Green Wave events, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. The Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the Wilson Center on Ben Weiner Drive, and tickets can be purchased in person, over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.