Women’s basketball hits the road to bolster tournament resume


CW / Jake Arthur

Robert Cortez, Contributing Writer

After beating No. 9 Mississippi State 66-64 on Sunday afternoon for its first top-10 road win in six years, Alabama women’s basketball looks to carry the momentum into College Station, Texas, against the No. 12 Texas A&M Aggies on Thursday night. 

Redshirt junior guard Jordan Lewis heads into the game as the reigning SEC Player of the Week. She scored 33 points in the Crimson Tide’s two games during the week, 17 of which came against Mississippi State. Lewis averages 13.3 points per game, which is the most on the team.

“I don’t think we played our best game, but I think we grinded,” Lewis said. “I think we took advantage of stops on the defensive end and turned them into offense. I think we took advantage on the offensive glass, and it’s going to be important to continue to do these things.”

When Alabama hosted Texas A&M earlier this season on Jan. 23, the Crimson Tide had the lead with just over six minutes remaining. From there, there were six lead changes between the two teams, but it was the Aggies who captured the final lead with 30 seconds left and won the game, 79-74.

“[The key is] understanding the game plan and executing that,” coach Kristy Curry said. “We can’t give up second- and third-chance points.” 

Lewis and Alabama will go against a Texas A&M team that is ranked third in the SEC in rebounds, averaging 36.6 per game. The Aggies also have the top rebounding player in the conference in junior forward N’dea Jones, who averages 11.7 rebounds per game. 

“Taking care of the ball is the biggest thing – limiting the other team’s offensive rebounds and [limiting] them to one shot,” said sophomore guard Megan Abrams, who made the game-winning buzzer-beater at Mississippi State.

Texas A&M may be a lock for the NCAA Tournament, but the game has a big impact on its seeding in the conference tournament. The Aggies are currently ranked third in the conference and need to stay in the top four to secure a first-round bye. 

The game has larger implications for the Crimson Tide, which currently ranks No. 64 in the Rating Percentage Index (RPI), a criterion for selecting the field for the NCAA Tournament.

In each of the last three years, the team ranked No. 60 in the RPI was the last at-large team to receive a bid to the tournament. Texas A&M is currently ranked No. 14 in the RPI.

Alabama has lost nine straight matchups against Texas A&M, dating back to Jan. 3, 2013. The Crimson Tide is running out of chances to make its NCAA Tournament case, with only Missouri (No. 145 in RPI) remaining on the regular-season schedule.

“We understand every win, and especially road wins in the league really can impact your RPI down the stretch,” Curry said. “We’re shooting to get [our RPI] in the 50s.”

Tipoff between the Crimson Tide and Aggies is set for Thursday, Feb. 27, at 6 p.m. CT.