Women's Basketball: Showdown in the Big Easy

Katie Lou Samuelson attacks the basket during UConn's 83-40 win over Memphis on Saturday Jan. 30, 2016. The Huskies are set to face Tulane. (Bailey Wright/The Daily Campus)

After wrapping up their slate of home games at the XL Center with an 83-40 victory over Memphis on Saturday, the No. 1 UConn women’s basketball team heads to New Orleans to take on Tulane in an American Athletic Conference matchup.

The Huskies’ first matchup of the season against the Green Wave is a battle of two of the American’s best defenses. UConn (20-0, 10-0 American) is best in the conference, allowing just 49.1 points per game, while Tulane is second with 60.6 points allowed per game. The Green Wave (15-6, 6-3 American) also boast the stingiest perimeter defense in The American, holding opponents to just 27.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Tulane enters their matchup with the Huskies looking to get back on track after having their three-game winning streak snapped with a 72-54 loss at home to Temple. Prior to the loss to the Owls, the Green Wave posted wins over Tulsa, SMU and East Carolina.

Kolby Morgan and Leslie Vorpahl lead the way offensively for a Tulane team that is one of the most efficient offenses in the conference, shooting 43.7 percent from the field, good for second in The American. Morgan leads the Green Wave with 16.3 points per game, and Vorpahl is a close second, adding 12.5 a game and shooting a team-high 41.3 percent from the three-point line.

UConn boasts a formidable duo of its own in seniors Breanna Stewart and Moriah Jefferson, and the two have yet another chance to climb in the UConn record books against Tulane. Stewart needs just 16 points for 2,347 in her career, which would move her past Tina Charles (2,346 points) for second all-time. Should Stewart accomplish the feat against the Green Wave, she will have done so in 135 games, 17 less than Charles took to reach the mark.

With one steal against Tulane, Jefferson can tie Maya Moore for third all-time in steals with 310. Jefferson is averaging 2.7 steals per game this season, the second-best total in The American.

The Huskies may also benefit from the return of Morgan Tuck, who has missed all of UConn’s games since Jan. 20 with knee pain. Tuck returned to practice last Friday, and could return in limited minutes for UConn in order to tune up for a highly-anticipated matchup against No. 2 South Carolina on Feb. 8.

UConn’s matchup with the Green Wave is team’s first game in February. The Huskies are 233-100 all-time in February, and have won 64 of its last 69 games in the month.

UConn and Tulane will tip off at 8 p.m. and the game can be watched on SNY. 


Dan Madigan is the associate sports editor for The Daily Campus, covering women's basketball. He can be reached via email at daniel.madigan@uconn.edu. He tweets @DMad1433.