Jan. 28, 2015
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The women’s basketball team (12-10, 1-6 SEC) hits the road for a midweek matchup with No. 1/1 South Carolina (19-0, 7-0 SEC) on Thursday. The game will tip off at 6 p.m. CT in Colonial Life Arena and will air live on SEC Network +.
Thursday’s game will air on SEC Network + with Brad Muller (play-by-play) and Debbie Antonelli (analyst) on the call. The game can also be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network with Roger Hoover announcing the action. There will be live updates throughout the game available on Twitter @AlabamaWBB.
Thursday’s game will be the 36th in the series that South Carolina holds a 20-15 advantage in. The Gamecocks have won the previous 10 meetings dating back to 2008. Alabama’s last win against South Carolina came on Jan. 10, 2008, 65-54. The Tide’s last victory in Columbia took place on Feb. 17, 2000 (69-67).
Alabama went 1-1 in league play last week to move to 12-10 overall and 1-6 against SEC opponents. In Thursday’s game with Auburn, the Crimson Tide held on for the 51-50 victory, while Sunday’s game saw Alabama come back from a 16 point deficit but come up just shy with a 55-52 loss to Vanderbilt. Sophomore Ashley Williams continues to lead the Tide in scoring and rebounding with averages of 13.6 and 6.2, respectively. She is also hitting 54.0 percent of her shots, ranking second in the league in field goal percentage.
SCOUTING SOUTH CAROLINA
Top-ranked South Carolina remains undefeated with a 19-0 overall record and a 7-0 mark in SEC play. Last time out, the Gamecocks downed No. 12/10 Texas A&M, 79-61, where four players finished in double figures led by freshman A’ja Wilson with 18 points and nine rebounds. South Carolina leads the league in several categories such as scoring (78.8 ppg), scoring defense (50.1 ppg), rebounding (43.4 rpg), blocked shots (6.3 bpg) and assists (18.1 apg). Junior Tiffany Mitchell averages a team-best 15.3 points per game to lead the offense, while sophomore Alaina Coates hauls in a team-high 8.6 rebounds per contest.
Alabama head coach Kristy Curry has a history of success in her 15 year career. Nine of her teams have made the NCAA tournament, including a trip to the 2001 championship game while coaching at Purdue. With the Boilermakers, she won two Big Ten regular season titles. She holds an overall coaching record of 335-175 and has led nine teams to 20-win seasons. The Gamecocks are under the direction of seventh-year head coach Dawn Staley, who was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last year. She has led her teams to nine 20-win seasons and a total of 11 postseason appearances, including trips to the NCAA Sweet 16 in two of the last three seasons.
In this season’s earlier meeting on Jan. 8, Alabama fell to top-ranked South Carolina, 102-59. Tide freshman guard Meoshonti Knight led the team with 16 points. Sophomore forward Ashley Williams also scored in double-digits, contributing 10 points before exiting in the second half due to injury. For the game, South Carolina shot 63.8 percent (37-58), while Alabama was 37.3 percent (19-51) from the floor. The Gamecocks narrowly outrebounded the Tide, 30-26, but South Carolina forced 17 Alabama turnovers and only committed seven. UA was 77.3 percent from the free throw line, hitting 17 of 22 attempts. Alabama and South Carolina traded baskets over the first nine minutes of the game before a 10-3 run for the Gamecocks gave them a 25-18 lead with 8:24 remaining in the period. The Tide cut its deficit to four, but South Carolina would go on to outscore Alabama, 23-9, to take a 48-30 advantage into the locker room at the half. The Gamecocks continued to distance themselves from the Tide in the second half, pulling in front by as many as 47.