Tulane’s women’s basketball team will have some firsts before it Saturday.
It will be the first time the Green Wave will have played Connecticut or a top-ranked team in the nation. Tulane could also be a team that earned the first win in Gampel Pavilion since the 2012-13 season.
This is after the Huskies defeated South Carolina, the-top ranked Associated Press team, 87-62 on Monday.
“We’re really glad they won that game by the way,” said Tulane coach Lisa Stockton. “That was great for our conference, It’s nice going to Connecticut not after a loss.”
The Huskies, now the top team in the USA Today Coaches poll, have won nine national championships and Tulane’s players know about the accomplishments.
“I think it’s exciting. I’ve been there one other time. It’s definitely amazing to go in the gym to see all their national championships,” said Jamie Kaplan. “It’s going to be a very, very full experience. I know we’re excited to play them. They’re an unbelievable team. They have great players. I think we’re just real excited for the experience. Hopefully, we play as well as we can.”
Despite the fact that the Huskies’ only loss was a two-point overtime loss to Stanford on Nov. 17, Kaplan said her team can’t be intimidated.
“Obviously, you know they’re a great team, but you can’t walk in there and be defeated. You have to walk in there with confidence and just play your game,” she said. “They’re basketball players like we are. We’re excited to go up there.”
Tulane got its third consecutive win after defeating Central Florida 66-55 on Tuesday and that momentum could be useful Saturday.
“There’s always more momentum after a win,” said Stockton. “One of the things we talked about with the players is that I really challenge them to go to Connecticut, to play against these players that they should want to be like.”
All five of Connecticut’s probable starters for Saturday have a double figures scoring average, with Breanna Stewart leading with 16.4 points per game.
“I’m excited … for the chance that we’re getting to play them. I think we’re going to go out and play hard because we have nothing to lose. It’s just going to be a great experience,” said Adesuwa Ebomwonyi. “I think we’re just going to go out there, we’re going to play hard. They’re Connecticut of course, the No. 1 team in the nation. We’re not going to go out there scared. We’re going to go out there, just fighting.”