With game looming against No. 22-ranked South Florida on Wednesday, Tulane women’s coach Lisa Stockton said she’s not concerned the Green Wave might look past Central Florida on Sunday.
UCF (3-11, 0-3) comes into Fogelman Arena having lost 10 consecutive games. However, Stockton points to last year, when the Knights caused problems with their offensive rebounding and played the Green Wave closely, even though Tulane won both American Athletic Conference games.
“We won one of the games (by one point) at their place on a last-second shot by (guard) Kolby Morgan,” Stockton said. “We beat them here, but it was a competitive game.”
However, Central Florida has not beaten Tulane since 2011.
More important is Stockton’s mantra that in the AAC, where the fight among a handful of teams is for third place behind powerhouse Connecticut and very good South Florida, it’s important to win the games one is expected to win and as many of those her team hopes to win.
After Central Florida is South Florida for Tulane (11-4, 2-1) in a game televised by ESPN. The Wave is coming off a two-game road trip in which it was ambushed at Memphis then beat East Carolina by 14 points in Greenville, North Carolina.
“The nice thing is our team bounced back and really had a different focus in East Carolina,” she said. “We had a lot of intensity, and hopefully we can carry that in these next two games. These next two games are important.
“But we’ve got to be focused on this game.”
The play of freshman forward Meredith Schulte is a positive sign going into the two home games, Stockton said. Schulte missed Tulane’s final pre-conference game at home against Houston on Dec. 30 after having a concussion during practice. Coming off the bench at East Carolina, she had a season-high nine points and tied her season-high with five rebounds.
“Meredith just plays really tough,” Stockton said. “Games that are really physical, like East Carolina, she did a good job of handily that, she hit some big shots.”
Stockton said she would like to see Tulane get more consistent defensively. The Wave has shown a penchant for turning games in its favor during the second quarter. That happened at East Carolina when Tulane erased a seven-point deficit and led by one at halftime.
“Every team you play, they’re going to match you in that first quarter,” she said. “The first 10 minutes, a lot of it is going to be back-and-forth. I think we get a feeling for teams after the first quarter.”