The start of the women’s basketball season is less than two weeks away, and the Golden Hurricane are excited to begin their second season in the American Athletic Conference after finishing their inaugural season with a third place finish.
“It’s probably the most excited I’ve been since I’ve been at TU about our team and about the season starting,” Head Coach Matilda Mossman said.
This is Mossman’s fifth season at Tulsa, and she’s looking to take Tulsa to their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2006.
This year the Golden Hurricane are led by seniors Ashley Clark, Kelsee Grovey and Antoinet Webster.
Mossman said, “Each senior class has raised the bar a little bit more from the year ahead of them and so the team won eighteen games last year and we went to postseason play. Now as seniors there is a legacy that they want to leave and what is that? I think it’s getting to the NCAA Tournament.”
One of the big changes for the Golden Hurricane is a new approach to their non-conference foes. Last season, even though Tulsa finished ahead of Tulane in conference play, the Green Wave made it to the NCAA Tournament because of their non-conference play. This season includes games against Kansas State, Saint Louis, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
All of that being said, one of the biggest challenges lies within the American Athletic Conference, and that’s the defending conference and national champions UConn Huskies who have won the past three national championships.
Having UConn in the conference is a double-edged sword. On one hand, they are a powerhouse and will continue to be one of the elite teams in women’s basketball, but on the other they raise the stature of the conference and can attract recruits to AAC schools like TU.
Mossman said, “As you’re getting ready to go into conference knowing that [UConn] is your kingpin [and] that’s the team that everyone is trying to be like, it raises the standard for every other team in the conference.”
Last week at the American Athletic Conference media day for women’s basketball it was announced that Tulsa is projected to finish sixth in the conference—behind UConn and USF who are both ranked in the top-25—and Ashley Clark was named to the All-Conference Second Team.
In preparation for the season, Tulsa hosted their first of two exhibition games on Friday against Rogers State, dominating throughout the game for a 85–51 win.
Four different Tulsa players scored double figures in the game including Webster (19), Grovey (12), Clark (14) and Jordyn Holmes (12).
Mossman spoke about the strong starts to each half after the game.
“The group that started each half did a great job on defense. They held RSU to eight points in the first quarter and four points in the third quarter. I was pleased with what the starting group was able to do, especially on the defensive end, and we scored a lot of points when they were in the game.”
The Golden Hurricane will host their second exhibition game on Friday against Southeastern Oklahoma State, and will open up the regular season the following Friday, Nov 13 hosting Kansas State.