Women’s basketball integrates new players into team, readies for season

Ty Josloff, Contributing Reporter [email protected]

With an eighth straight season of 20 or more wins on the line, two all-conference players and a head coach who is entering her 23rd year at the helm of the program, this season of Tulane women’s basketball looks to be both exhilarating and prosperous.

On Saturday, the Green Wave women’s basketball team will play its second game of the season against the Grambling State University Tigers in the Avron B. Fogelman Arena in Devlin Fieldhouse.

Despite the fact that the team will be playing an out-of-conference opponent, head coach Lisa Stockton knows that her players should not take the game lightly.

“Our schedule’s a little tougher than usual this year, but our goal is really to look at our non-conference schedule this year and tackle that to see how good we can make this team during that time,” Stockton said.

Capitalizing against the team’s non-conference opponents will be crucial; however, it is not Stockton’s sole priority for the season. In addition to the team’s veteran leadership, it introduces the new talent of first-year players guard Kayla Manuirirangi, forward Maddison Wells and center Brogan Jones.

“We’ve got a lot of talent and youth, and we’re trying to merge the two,” Stockton said. “I think that’s our biggest challenge: to get our younger players to step up and play in this tough schedule that we have.”

Stockton’s priorities for the season also include praise for guards junior Kolby Morgan and senior Leslie Vorpahl. Both of the veteran players were named to the American Athletic Conference preseason first team and second team, respectively.

“Those two players are really special,” Stockton said. “They’re two of the best players in the conference, and they certainly deserve that honor, and I think they’re going to have a great year, so we were really proud of them to be recognized, and with a team like [UConn] in the league, it really says a lot about them.”

In addition to Morgan and Vorpahl, senior guards Shakira Harding and Courtnie Latham will lead the team. Harding scored 12 points, and Latham scored 18 points during Tuesday night’s exhibition game against Loyola University New Orleans as the Wave cruised to a 75-53 victory. After the game, Latham had nothing but praise for her head coach.

“She’s just absolutely outstanding,” Latham said. “She pushes us to work hard and make ourselves better every day.”

The game will tip off at 2 p.m. Saturday at Devlin.