Tulane’s women’s basketball team snapped a three-game losing streak as it defeated Loyola 82-66 on Sunday at Devlin Fieldhouse.
For Tulane coach Lisa Stockton, seeing more players involved was a positive.
“In the last few games, we struggled a little bit with our offense,” she said. “So I was really glad to see us share the ball more. We shot well. We shot well from the free-throw line. Those were all positives. I could see ourselves a lot more confident on offense.”
Leslie Vorpahl led the Green Wave (5-3) with 20 points while Tiffany Dale scored 18. Danielle Blagg added 15. Tierra Jones led Tulane in rebounds with 10.
“The one thing with this team is developing some consistency on our defense,” Stockton said. “We use a lot of different players in different roles. I think we’ve got to make sure that defensively, were aggressive every night.”
The game counts as a win for Tulane, however it’s an exhibition match for the Wolfpack. The NAIA, of which Loyola (6-5) is a member, allows schools to play exhibition matches with NCAA Division I opponents throughout the season. The Wolfpack played UL-Lafayette earlier this year.
Early in the first half, the Wolfpack’s experience playing Division I opponents showed as Loyola tied the score at 13 with 12:12 left in the first half when Janeicia Neely sank a 3-pointer.
Vorpahl said Stockton told the team to get feisty during a timeout after the tie.
“It’s good to see when coach gets into it,” Vorpahl said. “When she is more energetic than we are, that’s a problem. We just needed to get more energy on the court and get meaner and to want to get the stop and get the ball. She really just talked some sense into us, like she always does.”
That lead didn’t last for long as Tulane went on a 16-0 run to take a 27-13 lead and that was capped when Blagg made a jump shot at the 7:35 mark of the first half.
In the second half, Loyola cut the lead to 51-41 when Neely made a 3-pointer with 16:15 left in the game.
Meghan Temple hit a jumper with 14:35 left to cut the Tulane lead to 51-45. The Green Wave added to that advantage at the 13:24 mark following a pair of free throws from Blagg and Dale.
With 8:32 left, Tulane led 70-48 when Katye Magee made a 3-pointer.
Neely led the Wolfpack with a game-high 23 points and Jasmine Brewer added 14.
Loyola coach Kellie Kennedy said Sunday’s game was a chance to gauge her team’s progress.
“Before we get into our conference play in January, we can match up against somebody who is real strong and see where we are with it,” she said.
Loyola shot 53.8 percent from the 3-point line in the first half compared with 35.5 percent field goal shooting.
“I thought we were shooting the ball really well,” Kennedy said.
“Especially in that first half, our 3-point shooting percentage was much better than our two (field goals) in the first half.”