Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics
As head coach Kristy Curry lamented her team’s struggles with the “little things” against South Carolina on Thursday night, senior guard Hannah Cook nodded in defeated agreement next to her.
Curry said Alabama women’s basketball had a good showing in effort statistics such as shot attempts, offensive rebounds, and drawing fouls, but imperfections in finer details, especially on defense, sunk the team’s hopes of an upset.
“You can’t miss easy baskets,” Curry said, eliciting the nod from Cook. “It’s a turnover when you miss an easy basket… We just couldn’t get stops at those times. When things aren’t going your way, you can control what you do defensively.”
On a few occasions this season, Curry has called for more energy and intensity from her players. Thursday was not one of those nights, as execution was the primary issue.
“Collectively we’re on the same page, we all want the same things,” Curry said. “We’ve just got to be more frequent. We’ve got to all be dialed in on both ends of the floor and there’s just not a lot of margin of error in this league. At midnight we let this go and we get ready for an Ole Miss team that’ll be hungry at home.”
There will surely be more margin for error on Sunday than there was against the Gamecocks. Alabama has won the last three matchups against Ole Miss and eight of the last 11, and the Rebels are 1-10 in SEC play this season.
Nonetheless, the last thing the Crimson Tide can afford to do during a four-game losing streak is to overlook an opponent. The Rebels still have plenty of talent on the roster.
Six-foot-five freshman forward Promise Taylor had already been turning heads, garnering SEC Freshman of the Week honors three times thanks to the third-most blocks in the conference and the fourth-best field goal percentage.
Now, though, Taylor is getting national attention for her game against Texas A&M on Thursday, which included 17 points, eight rebounds, and a whopping 10 blocks, the most in the SEC this year by two.
Guard Alissa Alston has also raised her game to a new level during her junior season. Having never scored more than 17 points in a game before this season, she has topped 20 points five times, including a career-high 28 on Feb. 1. She also ranks third in the SEC in minutes per game (35.1).
Curry said the Rebels’ conference record does not accurately portray their talent, and she warned that playing on the road in the SEC is tough regardless of who the opponent is.
“Every night in this league is just going to be a battle; you’ve got to play your best basketball and that’s what this team has got to get to,” Curry said. “We’ve got to play our best basketball and we’ve got to be consistent and frequent.”