Recap | How women’s basketball fared in its two weekend SEC showdowns

The team had a rollercoaster weekend as they faced conference foes in the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Tennessee Lady Volunteers.


CW file

It was a weekend full of ups and downs for the Alabama women’s basketball team. The women mounted an 11-point comeback against #14 Mississippi State before running into a tough #23 Tennessee team coming off a disheartening loss to the Georgia Bulldogs. Here’s a recap of the two games. 

Mississippi State: A halftime bounce back

The Crimson Tide managed to complete another comeback against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville. Alabama defeated Mississippi State 86-78. The Bulldogs came out of the gate with effective shooting and challenged Alabama’s zone defense with great passing and penetration inside. Alabama would eventually start to answer State’s shots with their own, but the Tide would go from red hot to ice cold by halftime and find themselves down by 11 points. A leader would need to step up and get the team focused on the comeback that awaited them. According to Alabama head coach Kristy Curry, those leaders were senior guard Jordan Lewis and senior forward Jasmine Walker.

“Without a doubt, Jordan Lewis and Jasmine Walker, you know, I thought were really special at halftime,” Curry said. “I actually pulled… Jasmine [Walker], Jordan [Lewis] and Hannah [Barber] out into the hallway and we had a conversation and, you know, I thought those three really took control the second half.”

The hallway strategy session proved dividends. The Crimson Tide would outscore the Bulldogs 53-34 in the second half to complete the comeback. Alabama guards Lewis and junior Megan Abrams exploded in the second half. Abrams had 18 points overall, 11 of those came in the fourth quarter. Lewis led the team with 22 points, with 11 of those coming at the free throw line. All five of Alabama’s starters finished the game with double digit points. Alabama was able to settle down after a rough first half and find their offense as the game when on. After the game, Lewis discussed how they were able to find their rhythm in the second quarter. 

“We don’t want to get away from what we do, which is attack the basket,” Lewis said. “I think we took advantage of that in the second half.”

With this win, Alabama moved to 11-1 overall and 4-1 in conference play on the year. 

Tennessee: Pressure in the paint

A matchup with the potential to be a tight contest was next up for Alabama. The 23rd ranked Tennessee Lady Volunteers came in town to avenge their loss against the Georgia Bulldogs while Alabama sought to ride the momentum of their comeback victory in Starkville. The Crimson Tide had the challenge of stopping the Vols inside the paint. This season, more than half of Tennessee’s points have come from inside the paint. That style of play is something that Alabama head coach Kristy Curry told reporters on Friday the team must be focused and prepared for.

“When you defend the glass and give them one shot opportunities, you give yourself a chance,” Curry said. 

This would be easier said than done. 

Alabama and Tennessee were neck and neck going into the second quarter, tied at 16. The second quarter is where the Lady Vols exploded, outscoring the Crimson Tide 26-7. Tennessee’s sudden second quarter momentum would be too much for the Tide to overcome as the ladies would go on to lose to the Volunteers 82-56.

The points in the paint Curry discussed on Friday was the Achilles’ heel for Alabama; 44 of Tennessee’s 82 points were inside the paint. The length and size of the players on Tennessee was too much for Alabama to defend as Tennessee created wide open lanes to the basket and was able to go over the top against Alabama. It was also a rough day shooting-wise. Alabama shot for only 34.5%; something Alabama fans did not expect to see just one game after all five starters had double-digit points. Tennessee shot for 51.5% and was shooting well from inside and outside of the paint. 

It was not all grim and gloom for the Crimson Tide. Lewis led the Crimson Tide with 22 points and is now only 70 points away from moving to the tenth overall in career points at Alabama. Walker recorded her fourth double-double in a row, with 17 points and 12 rebounds. 

But today, they ran into a focused Tennessee team. 

“We had a really bad day at a really wrong time,” Curry said. 

Alabama is now 11-2 overall and 4-2 in Southeastern Conference (SEC) games this season. They have a week to put this loss behind them, as they are back in Coleman Coliseum against the Auburn Tigers next Sunday.