Women’s basketball begins preparation for upcoming season

Cody Estremera

The Alabama women’s basketball team returned to Foster Auditorium on Monday to kick off its practice schedule, which signaled the return of Ashley Williams.

Williams, who missed the previous season due to medical reasons, returns to a Crimson Tide team that made it to the first round of the NIT tournament last season. She was the leading scorer and rebounder back in the 2014-15 season.

“She gives our team a lot of confidence,” coach Kristy Curry said. “She just plays so hard. She’s really worked on her 12 to 15-foot jumper, which is consistent now. Her free throws have improved, and physically nearly back. We are all happy to have her back.”

Along with the return of Williams, the team has six new players, including freshmen Ashley Knight and Jordan Lewis.

The new additions bring a solid foundation the Crimson Tide has lacked in the last couple of years.

“It allows us to play defense the way we want to,” Curry said. “It helps us on transition being able to score easy and often. It’s pretty exciting not having any seniors. I’m thrilled with our two freshmen. We have more depth and size.”

The summer helped the team form chemistry together. Every player except one was with the team during the break.

“This is the first year the Terry Jones has had a full year with them,” Curry said. “We have some ladies that have transformed how they look and just physically where they’re at. The two most important people on your staff are the strength coach and the trainer, because they spend more time with them than we [coaches] are allowed to. They put us in a position physically and on a health standpoint.”

Even with all the new faces, there are four returning starters with the most notable one being Hannah Cook, who has started all but five games in her career. Curry said the junior guard has become one of the biggest leaders on the team. Cook has expanded her offensive game and is constantly working on her defense.

Curry believes patience is key for the team’s success this season because there is a lot to learn in such a short amount of time. The team is giving a great effort, though. The greatest thing for a coach is not to have to preach effort every day.

This season, both Alabama basketball teams will be playing in Coleman Coliseum. The women’s team has been playing in Foster Auditorium since 2011.

“There’s so much excitement,” Curry said. “We love being in Foster. We’ve had some big wins in this building, but there’s also been some big wins and a tradition in Coleman. We’re excited to be picking that back up. It shows growth of our program and it shows that we are doing a lot of positive things.”

The season kicks off on Nov. 4 against West Alabama at 7 p.m.