Experience can be a positive factor for Tulane’s women’s basketball team after playing one match against national power Connecticut on Feb. 14.
That match was an 87-39 loss to the Huskies, and just after they defeated previously top-ranked South Carolina.
The Green Wave (20-7, 11-5 American Athletic Conference) gets another chance to play Connecticut (26-1, 15-0) Monday at Devlin Fieldhouse in its final regular-season home game. Tulane ends the regular season Saturday at Tulsa.
“I don’t know that there is any necessary any improvement in our team,” Tulane coach Lisa Stockton said. ”I think it’s a matter of we played them before. I think that’s going to definitely help.”
With Saturday’s win against Memphis snapping a two-game losing streak, and having already played Connecticut at home, Tulane might be in a better position to compete. The Huskies have a 25-game winning streak after defeating Tulsa 92-46 Saturday.
“For us, having to compete against them one time, I think the players will be a little more relaxed for a little bit,” Stockton said. “I don’t know how much you can relax against UConn, but as far as the first time you play them, it’s pretty overwhelming, especially playing them there. I definitely think we’ll be in a different position to compete and more prepared mentally.”
Senior Danielle Blagg said she sees playing Connecticut as an opportunity to test her own limits.
“I think UConn, it’s really a test of just how much you have within yourself and within your team. They’re No. 1 in the nation, so it’s definitely a competitive game, it’s a physical game. It’s just about giving it all you got,” Blagg said. “We’re looking to compete and just give it everything we have going into the game. No matter what the outcome is, it will give us confidence going into the game against Tulsa.”
With the Huskies having won the past two national titles, Stockton said she also sees Monday’s game as an opportunity to increase attendance.
“One of the things, when we got in the league with UConn, I thought one of the greatest things would be when they come here, just because our fans could see that level of a team,” she said. “We could really make this place loud and just create such an atmosphere for basketball. Those are the things we’ve got to look at.”