The Tulane women’s basketball team will start its inaugural year in the American Athletic Conference with a tougher schedule.

The Green Wave will face that schedule with all but two players returning from a team that finished 20-11 last season.

While excited about starting the season, Tulane coach Lisa Stockton was aware of the challenge her team will face.

“Today is one of those days you look forward to all year, to finally start practice,” Stockton said Sunday.” I think we’re all really pumped about it.”

Tulane’s nonconference schedule includes a road game at LSU on Nov. 19, hosting N.C. State on Nov. 24, and a home game with Florida State on Dec. 22.

“The nonconference schedule is tremendously tough, then you add in a better conference. I think this is one of the better schedules we’ve had in many, many years,” Stockton said.

Senior guard Jamie Kaplan said playing tougher competition in previous seasons can only help the team this season.

“I think those games against SEC schools and ACC schools definitely prepare you for these type of games that we’re going to get almost every night now,” Kaplan said. “I think they kind of show your weaknesses and show your strengths. “

The Green Wave lost two players and gained three. The new additions include freshman guards Kolby Morgan and Caylah Cruickshank. Returning 10 of 12 letter-winners from last season, Tulane will have 97.9 percent of its scoring.

Morgan played at John Curtis and was the Patriots’ all-time leading scorer with 2,229 points. Cruickshank is from Montreal and was invited to try out for the 2013 Canadian Junior National team.

The third is redshirt freshman forward Paije Hall, from Lafayette.

Tulane’s four seniors — Kaplan, Danielle Blagg, Tiffany Dale, and Adesuwa Ebomwonyi — have accounted for 47.1 percent of the team’s scoring since the 2011-12 season.

“I really am excited for the opportunity for our senior class,” Stockton said. “They’ve been a huge part of this program for the last three years. This is really a great time for them to shine and lead this team.”

Tulane’s conference schedule has home and away games with two-time defending national champion Connecticut. The home game is scheduled for Feb. 23 at Devlin Fieldhouse.

“We’ve got a lot of opportunities to prove ourselves,” Stockton said. “Hopefully the more opportunities we have, the more we can not only raise our level, but also get some national exposure where they really know how good our program can be.”