Greater Tulsa Reporter
The Tulsa women’s basketball team will face No. 1-seed and the fourth-ranked Stanford Cardinal on Sunday, March 24, at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, California. The game is scheduled for 4:20 (CT)/2:20 pm (PT) and will be televised on ESPN2.
The Stanford-Tulsa winner will play the winner of the #8 Michigan-#9 Villanova game on Tuesday, March 26.
Single session tickets for the NCAA First Round game are available by contacting the TU athletic ticket office, through Thursday, March 21 at 5:00 pm. Tickets are priced at $30.00. Fans can call 918.631.GoTU (4688) or stop by the TU ticket office at the Reynolds Center to purchase tickets.
Tulsa, winners of Conference USA’s automatic bid, has posted a 17-16 overall record and finished sixth in the league with an 8-8 record. The Cardinal has a 31-2 overall mark and finished 17-1 in the Pac-12 Conference. Stanford’s only losses have come against Connecticut and California, both home games.
“We were so surprised that our name came up first. It was kind of a shock, you see Stanford and then Tulsa. It’s almost like you don’t know how to react,” said Tulsa Head Coach Matilda Mossman. “While we were hoping for a 15-seed, we were expecting a 16-seed, so it’s not a surprise. Going to Palo Alto for the NCAA tournament is a reward for our players for everything that they’ve worked for all year long. We’ve spent a lot of time in the gym, a lot of time in the weight room, and a lot of time in the training room, so we’re going to enjoy this experience. We’re going to go out, have a great work ethic, were going to compete and play hard, but at the same time we’re going to enjoy this reward that we’ve earned for our efforts this year.”
“Stanford has been there before. This is old hat for them. They’ve been there, done that. I hope we’ll go in there hungry and create something magical,” said Mossman. “Stanford has an outstanding coach in Tara VanDerveer and tremendous players. There’s no doubt it’s a great challenge for us, but a tremendous opportunity as well.”
“When you’re a 17-16 team and your playing one of the top four teams in the country, it’s obviously going to be a challenge. But, our players aren’t the type to go out there and say ‘we don’t have a chance and it’s a wasted trip.’ I think our players feel pretty confident about how we’re playing. Our kids are going to fight and play hard. If you play hard at least you give yourself a chance. If you give yourself a chance, maybe they have a bad shooting night, maybe they get in foul trouble. You just don’t know. I do know that you have to go in and play hard and compete, and expect that you have a chance,” added Mossman.
“For us to win would be an upset, there’s no question. But we’re of the attitude now that we think we’re infallible right now. I think that’s what our mentality is right now. We’re going to go in with the attitude to fight, play hard and see what happens.
“Our conference has presented so many different scenarios to us. We’ve had to play from behind, we’ve had to protect a lead, we’ve played games where’ there’s 20 lead changes. We’ve been through so many different scenarios that I think this part of the season has readied us for the NCAA tournament,” said Mossman.
The Cardinal is led by John R. Wooden Award finalist Chiney Ogwumike, who is the only player in the country to rank in the top 10 in scoring (22.4 ppg), rebounding (13.1 rpg), field goal percentage (57.4) and double-doubles (26, first). Stanford won both the Pac-12 regular season and tournament titles.
Hurricane senior Taleya Mayberry set a Conference USA Tournament record with 100 points for a 25.0 scoring average in four games this past weekend. Mayberry averages 18.7 points per game and has dished out a team-high of 116 assists and added 76 steals.
The Hurricane has won 10 of its’ last 13 games, including the past five contests. Tulsa averaged 74.0 points and 40.0 rebounds, while shooting .469 percent from the field in its four C-USA Tournament contests.
Tulsa is making the school’s fourth post-season appearance for women’s basketball. The Hurricane made the WNIT postseason tournament twice, coming in 2004 and 2005, while receiving the school’s first appearance at the NCAA Tournament in 2008, also as Conference USA’s automatic qualifier.
In Tulsa’s last NCAA appearance, the Hurricane, a 12th-seed, defeated North Carolina State 71-63 in the first round, before losing in the second round to No. 13-ranked DePaul, 71-67, on the Blue Demons home court.