Women's Basketball Opens SEC Tourney

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The 11th-seeded Alabama women's basketball team (12-18, 2-14 SEC) will take on six-seed South Carolina (21-8, 10-6 SEC) on Thursday in the first round of the 2012 SEC Tournament, which is being held at Bridgestone Arena. The game is slated to tip off at 9 p.m. CT and will air on SportSouth.

"I think we have played well over the last five or six games except for the Auburn game," said Alabama Coach Wendell Hudson. "I'm looking forward to going into the tournament knowing we have to play South Carolina. We've played them, and I thought we played them pretty good. I think if we can make some shots we will have a chance. I do think the tournament is going to be a really exciting tournament. There are a couple of teams that have been playing really well. I think from top to bottom, the league has been playing pretty good. There's been some upsets. This is going to be a really exciting tournament."

Thursday's game will be the third between the two teams this season and 31st overall. South Carolina has won the previous five meetings in the series.

In the first meeting, which took place on January 1, the Gamecocks came away with a 68-42 victory in Columbia. For the game, Alabama was 37.5 percent from the floor (18-for-48), while South Carolina finished at 46.6 percent (27-for-58). In addition, the Gamecocks pulled down 38 rebounds compared to the Tide's 22 boards. Sophomore guard Jasmine Robinson led all scorers with 16 points, all of which were scored in the second half.

In the latest meeting on February 19, Robinson would again lead in scoring with 17 points, but the Tide would end up falling 69-55. Junior Kyra Crosby collected the first double-double of her career in the game, finishing with 11 points and 10 rebounds. For the game, Alabama shot just 27.5 percent (19-for-69), while South Carolina was 55.6 percent (25-for-45). Despite the loss, the Tide led in rebounds (41-37) and steals (13-7) and forced 21 Gamecock turnovers.

Alabama is led in scoring on the season by Robinson, who averages 11.4 points per game. She is followed by junior Meghan Perkins, who contributes 9.5 points per game. Perkins is also the Tide's leader in rebounds with 5.4 boards per contest.

South Carolina enters the tournament fresh off a 53-47 win over Arkansas. Two Gamecocks are currently averaging double-figure points, led by senior Markeisha Grant (10.8 ppg) followed by senior La'Keisha Sutton (10.4 ppg). Freshman Aleighsa Welch leads the team in rebounds with 6.1 boards per game.

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