CW / Hannah Saad
In a clash featuring some of the best scorers in the Southeastern Conference, Alabama suffered its second-straight loss to close the regular season. The Crimson Tide fell to the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks, 94-76.
You Get A Three, You Get A Three
The offensive identity of the Lady Razorbacks is simple: easy three pointers, layups and frequent trips to the free throw line.
Everything clicked for Arkansas on offense.
Everything shut off for Alabama on defense.
Alabama, once again, had trouble defending the perimeter. This allowed the Lady Razorbacks to set a new SEC record of nineteen three pointers in a game. During the first four minutes of the game, Arkansas did not attempt a two-point field goal. By the end of the first quarter, the Lady Razorbacks had 26 points, making eight three pointers.
In the first half, the Lady Razorbacks had only four points from inside the paint.
Throughout the game, the Crimson Tide struggled to defend the outside. The team knew it was a tough task entering the game. However, the Crimson Tide made it tougher on themselves with inadequate communication. Too often, Alabama left an Arkansas player unguarded, allowing the easy look for three. Other times, the Crimson Tide bit on fakes by the Lady Razorbacks.
Every time Alabama adjusted to try to stop the three, Arkansas would find another way to continue the barrage.
Arkansas senior guard Amber Ramirez led the barrage with eight three pointers on the day. She, along with senior center Chelsea Dungee, were too much for Alabama’s zone defense to handle.
After the game, Alabama head coach Kristy Curry said how tough it was for Alabama to stop the three-point shooting from Arkansas.
“We tried to make a couple of adjustments, but it seemed like, whatever we did or didn’t do, they shot the ball well today,” Curry said.
Alabama knew that the team’s best chance at winning in Fayetteville was through points inside the paint. During the live broadcast, it was mentioned that Curry stated that senior forward Ariyah Copeland needed to have a double-double for the team to pull out a win.
Copeland was able to get the double-double. The win didn’t come with it.
So, what exactly went wrong for the Crimson Tide inside the paint?
Despite having 42 points inside the paint, Alabama missed 23 layups in Sunday afternoon’s matchup. The Crimson Tide also made errant passes that allowed Arkansas to take the ball away. Alabama also struggled to finish the shot inside even when the looks were favorable for the Crimson Tide. Drives to the basket were left unfinished because Alabama could not put the basket away.
Alabama did exactly what head coach Curry said the team needed to do: limit Arkansas inside the paint. The Lady Razorbacks finished the game with 16 points inside the paint. However, Alabama’s struggles inside coupled with the three-point shooting barrage made it
Alabama did some good things inside, like defending the glass.
It was just inconsistent.
Alabama needed to play balanced offensive basketball against Arkansas. That didn’t happen. Too many missed opportunities piled up for the Crimson Tide. Despite Copeland’s double-double and 42 points inside the paint, the team still lost. There needs to be balance between Copeland down low and others like senior forward Jasmine Walker driving to the basket to score. Alabama must be able to play consistent inside the paint, should the team want to go fair in the SEC Tournament.
A Look Ahead
No team wants to end the regular season with a loss. Alabama must do their best “shake back” and prepare for Missouri on Thursday.
This team has a chance to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in over 20 years. Now is not the time for mistakes. It’s time to buckle down and lock in.