Tulane women’s basketball coach Lisa Stockton won her 400th game Friday, Nov. 22 against UNC Wilmington, but the milestone was not immediately on her mind.
“I just wanted to win the game at that point,” she said. “You certainly don’t think of anything like that until several days after the game. Obviously, in the heat of the moment, you just want to win the contest.”
The Green Wave defeated the host Seahawks 55-50 as Stockton, a native of Greensboro, N.C., reached the milestone with family in the crowd.
“It kind of worked out that way, which is nice,” she said. “Having my dad and my sister here was huge for me. They’ve been such a big part of my career, and I’m very thankful. I’ve been at Tulane for 20 years, and I’ve had an opportunity to coach a lot of special people, so it’s good to get.”
The two-game trip to North Carolina also included a 69-55 loss at N.C. State, but the higher level of competition helped Tulane.
“I don’t know if we played our best in North Carolina,” Stockton said. “But, I think UNC-Wilmington really challenged us when the game was close and we were able to regain the lead and finish it off.
“I think that’s something we’ve needed, to be able to finish a game and win it. North Carolina State had some very, very good post play. It really challenged our defense to keep them from scoring in the paint, and also rebounding. It’s hard to get the players attention to detail until you play some good competition. I think that’s probably what we got out of it the most.”
The Green Wave (4-1) hosts Ole Miss (4-4) at 2 p.m Saturday and despite the Rebels’ 9-20 record last year, Stockton sees a tough opponent.
“I know them from last year,” she said.” I think you’ve got an SEC team that’s going to be very physical. They’ve got size. They’ve got speed. Anytime you go up against an SEC team, you’ve got to be ready for a very physical and very challenging game.”
Stockton played college basketball at Wake Forest and her first head coaching position was at Greensboro College, in her hometown. There, she knew she wanted coaching to be her career.
“I knew I wanted this to be my career, so you really don’t look at the numbers.” Stockton said.
“As much as this is something I knew I wanted to do, and that was my dream to be a head coach, a head Division I coach, I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity.”
Stockton is in her 20th season as Tulane’s head coach. She said the school has suited her well.
“It’s just a good fit,” she said. “I love the academics. I love the players that we can recruit here. We’ve had a lot of support, and the other thing is New Orleans. It’s a great place to live and enjoy your life here.”
Stockton was a point guard for the Demon Deacons, and although it has been a long time since she dribbled the ball across halfcourt, she still knows what her players might be experiencing in games.
“I think when you’ve been a player you can relate to where they are and the excitement that they have in the games and the pressure they feel,” she said. “That’s something, even though it’s been a long time since I’ve been a player, I certainly still remember that.”