Ex-Green Wave All-American to watch daughter face alma mater in Women’s NIT

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Taylor Berry
Taylor Berry led Mount Carmel to a Class 5A girls basketball title in her senior year at Mount Carmel (Photo: Ron Brocato).

Former Tulane All-American Stacey Gaudet Berry will be in attendance as the Green Wave plays host to Alabama in a first-round Women’s NIT game at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Devlin Fieldhouse.

This time, however, will be different.

“We’ll be wearing red,” Berry said Tuesday.

When Berry looks up, she can see her No. 10 hanging from the rafters. When she looks down, she will see her daughter Taylor … on the visiting bench.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Stacey Berry said.

Taylor Berry is a freshman guard for the Crimson Tide after a stellar prep career at Mount Carmel Academy, where she helped the Cubs defeat Destrehan to win the Class 5A state title in 2014.

Taylor Berry graduated in May 2015 from Mount Carmel as the class valedictorian and enrolled at Alabama on a full academic scholarship last fall, where she is majoring in engineering.

Her Mount Carmel teammates – and her younger sister Morgan, who was a freshman on the Cubs’ state title team earlier this month – will be in attendance Wednesday night.

“I’m really excited,” Stacey Berry said. “I’m excited that she has a chance to come back (to New Orleans) and play. She grew up going to games (at Tulane).”

Said Tulane coach Lisa Stockton: “We certainly know Taylor really well. He was such a great high school player here. She has a great legacy with her mom.”

Stacey Gaudet Berry, who played at Tulane from 1983-87, was Tulane’s first All-American in any women’s sport. In February 1987, she became the first Green Wave basketball player, male or female, to surpass the 2,000-point mark for her career. She was inducted into Tulane’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993 and was a 2001 inductee into the Allstate Sugar Bowl Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame.

“Tulane gave me a great opportunity. I have nothing but fond memories,” she said. “It’s going to be a little different wearing red.”

Berry has remained active in basketball, coaching on the AAU and high school level and serving as a television analyst. She was an assistant coach for Mount Carmel’s Class 5A state championship team this winter.

Berry is not the only Louisiana connection in Wednesday’s game. The Tide roster features two other players from southeast Louisiana – sophomore guard Meoshonti Knight of Morgan City, the team’s second-leading scorer at 10.1 points per game, and sophomore forward Diamante Martinez of Karr.

Additionally, Alabama coach Kristy Curry – a native of Olla, Louisiana – was an assistant for the Green Wave from 1991-93 under Candi Harvey.

“She’s a terrific coach and she’s done a fantastic job at Alabama,” Stacey Berry said of Curry. “It’s a great opportunity for all of those kids to learn from her.”

Stacey Berry said her oldest daughter has learned the value of being part of a team and representing a school when you wear the uniform.

“She’s very proud to play for the University of Alabama and those coaches,” Stacey Berry said. “I understand how it feels to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

“The community at Tulane was great to me. I’m thrilled that my daughter is able to experience that now. I hope my other daughter will be able to experience that as well.”

As for Wednesday’s game, Stockton is hopeful that a home game against a Southeastern Conference opponent will pay dividends.

“Having an SEC matchup gets our players’ attention,” she said, “and hopefully the community comes out and supports us.”

Despite Alabama’s 15-15 record, Stockton has great respect for the Tide.

“I think they’re a team that’s going to really defend you,” Stockton said. “For us, I think we’ve got to be patient and take care of the ball.”

While blood runs thickest, Stacey Berry knows either her daughter’s team or her alma mater will win.

“It’s going to be an exciting game,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

 

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

Sales/Content/Production

Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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