Tulane women’s basketball coach Lisa Stockton said senior leadership would be important during the nonconference portion of the Green Wave’s schedule.
With Tulane (6-3) on a three-game winning streak after Wednesday’s win at Ole Miss, Stockton said he is proud of that leadership of late, particularly that of center Chinwe Duru and forward Tierra Jones.
“They bring a great deal of experience and know-how, but I feel like the games they step up for us, we win,” Stockton said. “Virginia was of of them. (Wednesday) night was one of them.”
Duru had her best game of the season Wednesday at Ole Miss, scoring a team-high 15 points on 5-of-6 field-goal shooting and 5-of-7 on free throws in the Green Wave’s 61-59 win. She also had five rebounds and blocked three shots.
“I’ve been kind of getting into the groove of things,” Duru said. “I’m rebounding more, I’m being more prominent in the paint and I’m taking on my role like I haven’t taken it on before (in) previous seaons.”
With Tulane set to face Southern (3-5) at 5 p.m. Friday, Duru has averaged 11.0 points on 73.3 percent shooting, 5.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks during the Green Wave’s current three-game winning streak. She has had three blocks in each of the past two games, the first coming in the rout of McNeese State on Dec. 6.
Also emerging has been Jones, whose energy can be infectious. Jones tied her season high with 12 points against Ole Miss and also had a team-high eight rebounds. It was the second time she scored 12 points in the past three games, and during the winning streak, she has averaged 9.3 points on 66.7 percent shooting and a team-high 6.7 rebounds.
“Coach challenged Chinwe and I after that Rutgers game (a 75-51 loss) to be more productive and effective,” Jones said. “We have more open communication, and we’re doing a better job of holding people accountable.”
After Friday’s game, the Wave will have two games in its Tulane Classic on Sunday and Monday before breaking for Christmas. After that, conference play starts on Dec. 30 at home vs. Houston.
Southern is coming off an 81-48 romp against Tougaloo after a brutal stretch of four road games. The Jaguars faced Nebraska, which received votes in the lastest AP top 25 poll, Kansas State, Iowa State and sixth-ranked Maryland. Southern also has played 18th-ranked Texas A&M.
Guard Brittany Washington, Southern’s leading returning scorer, rejoined the team two games ago after sitting awaiting academic certification. In her first game back against Maryland, she scored 24 points in 28 minutes.