Area players being on their rosters give added meaning to Tulane and LSU’s women’s basketball rivalry, Green Wave coach Lisa Stockton and Tigers coach Nikki Fargas said.
When the teams meet Monday night at Fogelman Arena, two hot-shooting guards from the New Orleans area will be on display: Tulane’s Kolby Morgan and LSU’s Jenna Deemer.
Morgan, a former John Curtis standout, is coming off games of 21 points against Jackson State on Nov. 17, and 26 points in a 68-62 loss at No. 6-ranked Florida State on Thursday. Before the Florida State game, she had to take intravenous fluids after being ill.
“Kolby has always been good at the defensive end, and she’s a good offensive player,” Stockton said. “I think she’s becoming a more dominant offensive player, and you see her playing with such confidence.”
With guard Raigyne Moncrief out with a knee injury, Deemer, who played at Ursuline Academy, has come up big in LSU’s past two games. She scored 19 points, including 6-of-9 on 3-pointers, in a 57-51 win at Arkansas-Little Rock on Wednesday, then led the Tigers (3-1) with 17 points Saturday in a 59-53 win over Long Beach State.
“We have a sharp-shooter in Jenna who, in every team’s scouting report, you have to know where she is at all times,” Fargas said. “She has the attention of opponents, and you can’t leave her open.”
LSU is on a three-game winning streak.
Tulane will play Rutgers in the Paradise Jam on Thursday in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. LSU faces Purdue on Friday to open the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida..
“This is the tough part of our pre-conference schedule,” Stockton said. “We could play well and lose (games in a row) easily. So we’ve got to make sure we show up every day.”
The Green Wave (2-1) has won four of the past five meetings with LSU, including 51-45 last year in what Stockton said was an ugly game.
Heading into Monday’s game, she said handling LSU’s press will be important.
“I thought we did a good job in the first half last year, but we got a little sloppy in the second half,” she said. “LSU plays a lot of zone press, and I think it’s important for all five players to be involved in breaking it and to score against it.
“Our starting lineup has better ball-handlers than we did last year, and that makes me feel better about how we can attack.”
Fargas said she feels good that her team has gotten better with each game, particularly defensively.
“We’re trying to be more committed on the defensive end,” she said. “We’re allowing 52 to 53 points a game, which is where we want to be. We’re also creating deflections, which are leading to steals.
“I think this team is establishing that identity.”
The Tigers held Long Beach State to 1-of-21 on 3-point shooting, which could bear watching against Tulane.
“Tulane has kids who can really stretch your defense,” Fargas said. “They’ve got the ability to shoot the 3, and they can play off the ball.”
The Wave’s concern certainly will be fouls. Florida State shot 43 free throws to Tulane’s 17.
“In nearly 30 years of coaching, I’ve never seen that,” Stockton said. “This year, there’s an emphasis on freedom of movement for the offense. We’ve got to adjust to how it’s being called.”