Women’s basketball to face Auburn in WNIT

Mark Keplinger, Sports Editor

Tulane University’s women’s basketball has qualified for postseason play with an at-large bid to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. The Green Wave will compete in the WNIT for the third-straight season and will kick off tournament play on Friday, March 17 at 7 p.m. CT in Auburn, Alabama against the Auburn University Tigers.

This is the 25th year of the WNIT’s existence and serves as the secondary postseason tournament to the NCAA Tournament, which determines the national champions. The Wave last qualified for the NCAA Tournament during the 2014-15 season.

Previewing the tournament, the Green Wave has a manageable side of the bracket, although Tulane has struggled in conference play. The team is 18-13 on the year but only 7-9 in American Athletic Conference play. 

At the helm for the Wave is legendary head coach Lisa Stockton, who recently became the winningest women’s basketball coach in Louisiana history. Stockton posted on her Twitter page: “This group plays unselfish with purpose. They work incredibly hard and believe they can win every game. I am so grateful to be able to coach them again. As long as there are games to play amazing things can happen. Let’s go!” 

Tulane’s offense this year is average. The team averages 66.7 points per game and ranks 146th out of 350 Division I schools. Tulane’s main weakness in recent games has been their 3-point shooting. They are shooting 30.76% from behind the arc on the season, which ranks 185th. The team will rely on Kyren Whittington, Marta Galic and Dynah Jones to do the scoring, who are averaging 11.9, 11.9 and 12.6 points per game respectively.

The Wave will rely on their stellar defense to win games, which gives up just 60.1 points per game. That ranks them a respectable 73rd best in the nation. What is more impressive is that the Green Wave is holding their opposition to just 36.2% shooting, which is 22nd best. This defense will keep Tulane in games with the best teams and could allow them to make a deep tournament run.

The Auburn Tigers have had less success this year, especially in a particularly good Southeastern Conference. The team is 15-14 including a 5-11 record in the SEC although the team is 13-5 at home. Johnnie Harris is in her second year leading the Tigers and was a longtime assistant coach before taking the Auburn job.

The Tigers are more reliant on their offense, which averages only slightly more than Tulane at 66.8 points per game ranking 143rd in the nation. They shoot the three ball worse than their opponents at 30.71% shooting.

Defensively, Auburn has had their issues, indicated by only the 232nd best defense letting up 66.5 points per game.

Aicha Coulibaly is leading The Tigers and is averaging 16.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Honesty Scott-Grayson is also worth noting who averages 13 points per game.

This matchup is highly intriguing with Tulane playing better team defense and Auburn leaning more on their star players. The winner of this matchup will play either Clemson University or High Point University in the second round.

Leave a Comment