For Tulane's women's basketball team, it was a long break in the schedule but a much-needed one, coach Lisa Stockton and the Green Wave players said as they head into Sunday's game at Memphis.
After the Wave's loss at Cincinnati on Feb. 10, it had no games this past week. Heading into Mardi Gras day, Stockton gave the team consecutive days off — Feb. 11 and Monday — instead of the usual one day in a week.
“At his point in the season, some of it just has been to get some rest,” Stockton said. “We had a couple of days off, the first time we've had says in a row off in a while. I think this time of the year, you're mentally fatigued and you're physically fatigued.
“This city is so crazy (just before Mardi Gradi), it would have been hard for them to focus anyway.”
The Wave (12-13, 4-8) returned to practice at 3 p.m. Mardi Gras day. They watched film, got back to basics and then scrimmaged against male students Thursday.
On the days off, some players said they went to parades. Others stayed in their dormintory rooms and rested. All said the mental break from basketball in a difficult season was important.
The physical and mental rest came as Tulane, which has lost four of its past five games, will play its final four regular-season games in an eight-day span, from Sunday to Feb. 26.
Not hiding her disappointment over the team's recent play, Stockton said she'd like to see more consistency and toughness during the final stretch.
“I think we played a really aggressive, consistent game (Feb. 7 in beating) Temple,” she said. “We went to Cincinnati (a 83-52 loss), and some shots didn't fall, and I thought we really lost our focus.
“(The recent losses) have been disappointing to see because I think we've had some great opportunities that we could really make a move, and we haven't taken advantage of them.”
Opportunity in Memphis
Dressing only seven players because of injuries, Memphis is 7-18 overall and 2-10 in American Athletic Conference play and has lost eight consecutive games.
Sunday's game is at 2 p.m. and will be on ESPN2.
The Tigers lost 75-62 at East Carolina on Wednesday when the Pirates scored 26 points in the fourth quarter after wearing Memphis down by pushing the all up court all game.
Memphis is led by center Cheyenne Porter, who has 10 double-doubles this season, and guard Brea Elmore, who scored 21 against ECU.
“Their center is a dominant player, and Elmore has been good throughout her career,” Stockton said. “She's a good scorer, a very strong athletic guard.”
The Tigers beat the Wave twice last season on buzzer-beating shots, as the teams were among four who finished at 7-9 and tied for fifth in conference.
Tulane has not beaten the Tigers since the first round of the 2016 AAC tournament. The Wave has not won at Memphis sine the 2012 Conference USA tournament.
Kolby Morgan scored 11 points at Cincinnati and is now has 2,124 career points, 134 behind leader Grace Daley.
Against Cincinnati, Morgan became the career leader in field-goal attempts with 1,728, passing Stacey Gaudet (1,723). Morgan also is now tied with former center Barbara Farris (1994-98) in free throws made with 408. Farris coached Morgan in high school at John Curtis.
She is tied with Danielle Blagg for second place in 3-pointers made (237). The two were teammates when Morgan was a freshman.