Tulane’s women’s basketball team heads into the Paradise Jam Tournament in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, bouyed by its 67-63 home victory over LSU, in which there were positives to build on, coach Lisa Stockton said.
“I think the win gives us a little momentum,” she said. “We played with a lot of confidence.”
The tournament runs Thursday through Saturday, and the Green Wave (3-1) will play Rutgers, followed by Wisconsin-Green Bay then Virginia. Each opponent presents a different challenge, Stockton said.
“Rutgers is so athletic, and that in itself presents many challenges handling their defense and their rebounding,” she said. “Green Bay is probably the most underrated of the three, and they are a team that shoots well and screens well. Virginia is a tough ACC team that presents challenges with its size.”
One of the positives Stockton was pleased with in the win Monday night is that Tulane outrebounded LSU 37-32. Guard Kolby Morgan led the way with 11, including five offensive rebounds. Four were putbacks.
“Coach has been preaching rebounding, and we try to find ways in practice to rebound better,” Morgan said.
LSU coach Nikki Fargas said the board crashing gave Tulane extra points and short-circuited LSU’s fast break.
“They got their share of 50-50 points, which is something we wanted to prevent going into the game,” Fargas said.
Stockton, however, said Tulane still needs to improve in that area. For one, her big players, center Chinwe Duru (2.7) and power forward Tierra Jones (3.3) are not averaging as many rebounds as is Morgan (4.0). Stockton said that will change.
“We change defenses so often, it’s hard sometimes to be in postion,” she said. “And we substitute a lot, so I’m not sure they’ve been able to get into a rhythm.”
The rebounding of freshman Harlyn Wyatt, however, has been a plus. Wyatt, 6 feet 2, had just two against LSU, but is averaging 5.3.
“I’d like to see us improve our ball-handling, keep getting better at keeping the turnovers down,” Stockton said. “We’ll play three games in a row against tough competition.”
After the tournament, Tulane will have played six opponents in seven games who went to the NCAA Tournament last season.