Opinion: Wave can turn heads win or lose against No. 1 UConn

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Sophomore guard Leslie Vorpahl looks to pass the ball in a 60-58 win against SMU Jan. 17 at Devlin Fieldhouse. The Wave face defending National Champion and No. 1 Connecticut (22-1, 12-0 AAC) at Connecticut Saturday. 

Mackenna Barker, Associate Sports Editor

Women’s basketball (19-5, 10-3 American Athletic Conference) rolls into a three-game willing streak at the right time following its 66-55 win against Central Florida Tuesday night. The Wave will need the momentum more than ever to beat defending National Champion and No. 1 Connecticut (22-1, 12-0 AAC) at Connecticut Saturday. 

Tulane sits idly at the number three spot in the AAC rankings behind Southern Florida (20-4, 11-1 AAC), which has beaten the Wave twice this season, and UConn.

UConn is, without doubt, the best team in women’s basketball. With nine of the last 20 titles under their belt, including the last two seasons, it’s no far stretch to say that Hall of Fame head coach Geno Auriemma has built the most powerful program in women’s basketball.

Though UConn suffered an overtime loss to Stanford early in the season, it demolished the previously unbeaten and No. 1-ranked South Carolina (22-1, 10-0 Southeastern Conference) 87-62 Monday night. The win answered any questions skeptics had as to whether this UConn team was truly the most dominant in women’s basketball.

The odds are against Tulane when it faces UConn. The team is undefeated at home, has the top offense in the nation with an average of 89.5 points per game and boasts the best defense, holding opponents to just 48 points per game.

Evident in the Wave’s losses to USF, Tulane struggles with tougher, more talented teams. The Wave will need to play its best game of the season to take down the top team in the nation. 

A loss, however, is not the be-all and end-all. How Tulane handles this challenge, regardless of the final result, will be a good measure of this team’s potential during conference tournament play. If Tulane can hold its own against UConn and not be dominated out of the gym, like many of UConn’s opponents, then Tulane might find success in tournament.

Even if Tulane gets wiped out tSaturday but subsequently improves against UConn in their second meet up Feb. 23 at Devlin Fieldhouse, the Wave will prove itself as a team with the potential to reach the top.