State basketball: Tulane women handle MVSU _lowres

Advocate file photo by LIBBY ISENHOWER -- Tulane coach Lisa Stockton

Tulane women’s basketball coach Lisa Stockton remembers last season’s victory at Arkansas-Little Rock as one of the Green Wave’s best performances.

That likely wouldn’t surprise the Trojans. Tulane’s 74-58 victory on Dec. 6 was UALR’s only home loss of the season, and the Wave’s points were the most scored against them all season.

“We played great against them,” Stockton said. “We knew it was one of the tougher games. It was right before exams. I think our team was really prepared for a tough opponent. We probably had that game circled going into the season.”

The teams meet again at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Fogelman Arena. Both are different, each with six freshmen. However, UALR, which won the Sun Belt Conference last season and nearly reached the NCAA Sweet 16, again figures to be solid. No doubt, the game was circled this time, too, by both.

Stockton said it again will be a tough test, particularly for the Wave’s freshmen.

“The thing that will be interesting is how our rookies guard their players,” she said. “(The Trojans) are a lot different. They bring their (power forwards) and (centers) out of the lane and run different kinds of screens. It’s very unpredictable.”

It’s a motion offense in which All-Sun Belt Conference player Alexius Dawn flourishes. Dawn sank 76 3-point attempts last season, most in program history. She and fellow senior Shanity James are the top returnees. Dawn was in foul trouble against Tulane and had just seven points in 24 minutes.

Under Coach Joe Foley, who has 700 wins, the Trojans were third in the nation in scoring defense (51.3 points per game) last season. Tulane allowed 58.3.

Last season, with its full-court pressure defense, the Green Wave scored 15 of the first 16 points in the second half in taking a 43-23 lead and coasting the rest of the way. The game wound up being one of importance when it came to being selected for the NCAAs. UALR was picked as an 11th seed, Tulane a 12th.

Tulane had played six games before that one. Season openers can be different, Stockton said.

“The first game of the season, I think you worry about scoring, your consistency there, and your execution.” Stockton said. “That will be important.”

Trojans 6-foot-1 junior forward Kaitlyn Pratt, the 2013 Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year, played at McDonogh 35 High. Freshman Kiara Scott is from Houma, and freshman Deja McKinney is from Ville Platte.