Tulane’s women’s basketball team has lost its past two games against tough Temple and the nation’s best team, Connecticut.
However, the Green Wave (19-10, 10-7 American Athletic Conference) has a chance to finish on a high note when it plays its final regular-season game Monday against Cincinnati (8-20, 4-13) in Devlin Fieldhouse. It will be Senior Night, and starting center Chinwe Duru and power forward Tierra Jones will be honored.
With the AAC tournament beginning Friday, coach Lisa Stockton said she is encouraged by her team’s improvement.
“I think we’re rebounding better,” she said. “I think we played with a lot of confidence at Temple; we just didn’t come out with the win.
“Some of our younger kids are playing better. So I definitely believe some of our pieces are coming together. We’ll see. We’ve got some big games ahead of us.”
The Wave had clinched a first-round bye in the tournament as its fifth seed before Saturday’s blowout loss at UConn. Last season, Tulane was the sixth seed and had to play on the first day of the AAC tourney.
A win Monday would enable Tulane to match last season’s 11-7 conference record, although it will fall short of last season’s 22-11 overall mark.
The Bearcats have lost seven of their past eight games. Their conference victories have come against Central Florida, Tulsa and Houston twice, teams with a combined AAC record of 14-38.
This is the teams’ only meeting this season. Tulane won at Cincinnati by 10 points last season.
In the final game, Stockton wants to see strides continue as far as intensity and rebounding by the guards.
“Against Temple, Taylor Emery had nine rebounds, which was very encouraging, because we’d been trying to get her to get more rebounds,” Stockton said.
Shooting guard Kolby Morgan had 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting and seven rebounds against Connecticut, continuing a streak of stellar play in February. And freshman post player Harlyn Wyatt had seven rebounds against the Huskies’ big frontcourt.
Jones, however, said he has been encouraged by the team’s ball movement of late. Against Cincinnati, which is last in field-goal percentage defense, this is a chance for a tune-up, with multiple players getting in double figures.
“I think one of the things this team is starting to understand is that when you use both sides of the court, how much easier you can get to the basket and get the ball to each other,” she said. “Teams try to deny our guards on the wing, and it may be easier to just pass the ball back from where you got it. But we’ve got to get through that.
“When we get ball movement, we’re really tough to guard.”