Tulane women’s basketball team — young, but versatile — seek second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance _lowres

Associated Press file photo -- Tulane coach Lisa Stockton

Tulane women’s basketball coach Lisa Stockton found several things of which to be pleased about in the Green Wave’s 16-point season-opening victory Friday against Arkansas-Little Rock.

As the Wave gets set to play Jackson State on Tuesday at Devlin Field House, Stockton would like to see much of the same — intensity, defense and getting a big lead to allow freshmen to play.

“I think I was most pleased about the 40-minute effort,” she said. “Sometimes when you get a nice lead and you have a young team, you might let up.”

However, with big games coming up Thursday at Florida State, Monday at home against LSU and the Paradise Jam tournament after that, Tulane has been working on cleaning up a few things. For one, UALR — a team not as big as Tulane — won the rebounding war, 38-32, getting 17 offensive rebounds.

“I want to see an intensity again,” Stockton said. “I want to dominate the rebounds. That’s something we really need to focus on. To be good, I think we have to be a good rebounding team.”

The Wave brought in freshmen front-court players to help in that regard.

Stockton attributed part of the lack of rebounding to her rotating so many players in and out.

Tulane got off to a fast start — a 15-4 first-quarter lead. Stockton, though, noted the Wave had 17 turnovers in the game, 11 of which came in the first half.

“I’d like to see that cut down, because you’ve got Florida State and LSU and Rutgers and (Wisconsin) Green Bay,” she said, “all these teams ahead that won’t be very forgiving with that.”

The game will be the season-opener for Jackson State, which beat NAIA Mobile 100-57 Saturday in an exhibition game.

For Tulane, the game could seem like exhibition. The Tigers, picked to finish fifth in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, has only two key players back, including one returning starter — senior guard Bridget Robinson — from a team that went 14-17 (10-8 SWAC) last season. The other is Derica Wiggins, a top reserve last season who scored 26 points against Mobile.

Jackson State, however, has six junior-college transfers, most notably center Kierra Adams and guard Meyonsha Riddles, a good 3-point shooter.

Tulane is trying to work in six freshmen and a junior-college transfer to become consistent contributors.

“(Jackson Staten is) a little bit like us; they’re searching a little bit,” Stockton said. “We’re trying to find our identity now, even though we’ve got some returning players. Those young players and what they can give us every night is something we’re searching for.”