Tide Hosts No. 1 Women’s Basketball Team

What happens when a team takes its sport seriously, puts resources into it? Consider that when the Alabama women’s basketball team defeated South Carolina 65-54 on Jan. 10, 2008, the Crimson Tide had a 15-10 advantage in the series.

Alabama is taking its women’s basketball program seriously now, and certainly the resources show in a big way in the development of Foster Auditorium and the hiring of Kristy Curry as Bama head coach. But there is ground to make up on South Carolina.

The Gamecocks come to Foster Auditorium for a Thursday evening game and South Carolina brings an undefeated 14-0 record and the nation’s number one ranking. South Carolina is 2-0 in SEC games.

The Crimson Tide has had some success this year, but that means an 11-6 record, including an 0-2 start in SEC games.

Tipoff Thursday will be at 6 p.m. CST. The game will be televised on the SEC Network Alternate Channel (SEC Network +).

Alabama went 0-2 during the first week of conference play with losses to No. 11 Kentucky, 78-66, and at No. 19 Georgia to move to 11-6 overall. In Friday’s game against the Wildcats, the Crimson Tide had three players score in double-figures for the afternoon, with freshman Hannah Cook recording a team-high 18 points. Sophomore Ashley Williams contributed 13 and redshirt freshman Karyla Middlebrook put in 11 to round out the double-digit scoring. The Tide was led in rebounding by junior Nikki Hegstetter’s career-high 14 boards.

Williams and freshman Quanetria Bolton had 12 points apiece in Sunday’s loss in Athens, while Williams and senior Sharin Rivers led the Tide on the boards with six each. Williams continues to pace the team in scoring for the season with an average of 14.3 points per game, and senior Briana Hutchen leads the Tide in rebounds with 6.9 boards per contest.

South Carolina is off to its best start in program history at 14-0. The Gamecocks opened SEC play with wins against Auburn, 77-58, and at LSU, 75-51, and will be playing their second straight road game and only their third of the year when taking the court in Tuscaloosa.

South Carolina ranks atop several of the SECs statistical categories including scoring defense (48.6 ppg), scoring margin (+30.8), field goal percentage (.491), assists (19.6 apg) and blocks (6.1 bpg).

Freshman A’ja Wilson leads the Gamecocks in scoring with an average of 14.5 points per game, while sophomore Alaina Coates hauls in a team-best 8.8 rebounds per contest.

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