With final exams going on and no games to play, practice was different the past eight days for Tulane’s women’s basketball team.
Coach Lisa Stockton said the Green Wave (5-3) did small-group work, conditioning and skill development before spending the final few days preparing for Wednesday’s game at Ole Miss (6-4).
The Wave, which is seeking its third consecutive win for the first time this season, also worked on sharpening its offense. Tulane had 27 turnovers in its 19-point home win in its last game, Dec. 6 against McNeese State.
“Having a big lead, we got a little lackadaisical,” sophomore guard Kolby Morgan said. “We really had a mindset in practice on what Ole Miss does, so we focused on limiting our turnovers.”
With a starting lineup of one post player, 6-foot-3 Shequila Joseph, and four guards, the Rebels try to apply pressure defense, although they don’t always achieve that goal.
With freshman guard Torri Lewis sinking 10 3-pointers, Ole Miss ran past UNO 97-59 on Monday. However, they were beaten 57-38 at Southern Miss on Saturday, after which third-year coach Matt Insell said, “Our enthusiasm and energy just wasn’t there from the beginning.”
Playing against a schedule that hasn’t been as formidable as that of Tulane’s, the Rebels, nonetheless, have forced 24 turnovers a game, averaging 12.6 steals.
Ole Miss also averages 76.0 points. Guard Shandricka Sessom is third in the SEC preseason in scoring at 18.9 points per game. Morgan, who averages 18.7 and is a good defender, will try to slow Sessom.
The Wave, who are deep and play man-to-man defense, can bring guards off the bench to help Morgan and point guard Leslie Vorphal to match up.
“Limiting our turnovers and executing on their mess-ups on defense will get us some quick points, so maybe that will get our momentum started,” Morgan said.
A game against an SEC team usually provides a physical challenge. However, senior center Chinwe Duru said don’t be fooled by the Rebels’ small lineup.
“They are 13th in the nation in offensive rebounding, so they are really quick to the boards,” Duru said. “We have to make sure we box out, and we have to get up and down the floor.”
The Wave returns Friday for a home game against Southern before ending its pre-conference schedule with its Tulane Classic tournament on Dec. 20-21.