Tulane women's basketball coach Lisa Stockton said she liked the way the Green Wave competed in this past weekend's Maine Tip-off Tournament.
It was among the positives as Tulane advanced to the championship game of the four-team tournament, losing by six to Dayton, which has been picked to win the Atlantic 10 Conference.
“Dayton's a good team, and I thought we matched their intensity, sometimes playing more intense than they did,” Stockton said.
Other notable developments were the promise of junior power forward Meredith Schulte (29 points in the two games) as a viable second option behind senior shooting guard Kolby Morgan, and the ball security of point guards Kayla Manuirirangi, a sophomore, and Kaila Anthony, a freshman. The two had four turnovers between them in the two games.
On Tuesday, the Wave will travel to Hattiesburg, Miss., to face Southern Mississippi as it prepares for its first difficult non-conference stretch of the season. After Tuesday's game, Tulane will play Vanderbilt at home on Friday before departing for the Junkanoo Jam Tournament in Bimini, Bahamas, on Nov. 24-25. There, the Wave will face Iowa State before going against either Central Michigan or San Diego State.
“It's still early, so for us, it's doing the little things like boxing out or setting screens, those kind of things,” Stockton said. “We have to become better communicators. Obvoiusly, our rebounding.
“Maine played a matchup-zone defense that we hadn't seen, and Dayton played man-to-man. So we got to go against different styles of play.”
Southern Mississippi, which only has had two exhibition games, also plays a style the Wave has not gone against this season. The guard-heavy Golden Eagles like to rip and run and make the game a track meet. Former Salmen High all-state guard Megan Brown, 5-foot-10, is a senior starter for USM.
“They're scrappy, really intense,” Stockton said. “They have a lot of players who can come in and have a good night. They will defend you full-court and all that.
“It's hard to go to Southern Mississippi. If you're not ready to play, they are going to beat you.”
Limiting USM's fast-break will provide challenges that could be helpful going forward, such as againt Temple or Memphis in American Athletic Conference play. Tulane will have to limit its turnovers, make shots and do a good job rebounding to have the tempo more to its liking.
The objective in the pre-conference is to get as many quality victories to make one's self attractive for postseason selection. For the Wave, perhaps more important is the development of freshmen and sophomores for when AAC play begins on Dec. 31.
“We have to still progress in everything,” Stockton said. “We've got some inexperience in some positions. We've got to get those game minutes behind them.
“We've got to get some other solid scorers out there who feel comfortable with it. I think everybody sometimes is trying not to make a mistake. So, we need to just be aggressive and try to play our game. I'm excited about our attitude, and I think we've got a lot of options.”