With only two seniors on her team, Tulane women’s basketball coach Lisa Stockton said receiving a bid to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament will provide invaluable experience.
The Green Wave (21-11) will play Alabama (15-15) at Devlin Fieldhouse when the first round begins Wednesday. The tournament will have three rounds, followed by the quarterfinals March 26-28, the semifinals March 30-31 and the championship April 2.
“It’s a different level of intensity, just a different atmosphere,” Stockton said. “And we have two very strong senior leaders (center Chinwe Duru and power forward Tierra Jones) who would love to play as long as they can play. It’s the perfect kind of team that could benefit from playing in the NIT.”
Tulane, which has an RPI of 74, reached the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament, where it lost to No. 1 Connecticut.
Alabama finished 4-12 in the SEC, ahead of only LSU and Ole Miss. LSU beat the Crimson Tide 58-49 in the first round of the SEC tournament. Tulane is 2-0 this season against SEC teams, having beaten LSU at Devlin and winning at Ole Miss.
“I don’t know anything about Alabama, but we’ve got a lot of film on them,” Stockton said. “It’ll be great to go against an SEC team.”
Tulane is making its fifth trip to the WNIT, having gone each year from 2011-14. The Wave played in the NCAA tournament last season and is making its seventh consecutive postseason appearance.
Stockton is curious as to how far Tulane can go this time.
“We played a really challenging preconference schedule,” she said. “We competed well in conference play (going 11-7). I think if we’d gotten a win here and there, we’d be in the NCAA tournament. But when you’re returning 11 players, you’re building for your future.”