The University of Alabama women's basketball team opens its 28th season of play on Friday night against in-state foe Samford. The game marks the second consecutive season that the Tide and Bulldogs have squared off in the season opener. UA posted a 66-42 victory in the game last year.
TIDE HIGH IN SEASON OPENERS
Alabama is 21-6 all-time in season openers. With its 66-42 win at Samford in 2000-01, Moody has guided the Tide to a 10-2 mark in season starters including four consecutive victories. Alabama's last opening night defeat was a 74-65 loss at Stanford in the season debut of the 1996-97 campaign.
BAMA ALSO STRONG IN HOME OPENERS
In over a quarter century of existence, the Crimson Tide has proven to be a tough foe in their home debuts posting a 22-5 mark all-time including last year's 64-63 win over Tulane. Coach Rick Moody is partially responsible, as the Tide have amassed a 10-2 record under his guidance.
- g #21 SHONDRA JOHNSON 5-9 • SR 13.4 PPG — 3.4 RPG — 5.1 APG*
- g #25 KATIE SIPE 5-10 • FR 11,0 PPG — 1.0 RPG — 38.5 3PT%**
- g #20 BETH VICE 5-11 • JR 10.4 PPG — 2.6 RPG — 34.8 3PT%*
- f #04 SPARKLE SMITH 5-11 • SR 6.6 PPG — 6.0 RPG*
- c #45 LANISHA CARTWELL 6-2 • SR 11.5 PPG — 6.1 RPG — 51.4 FG%*
- * - 2000-01 Final Stats ** - 2001-02 Exhibition Stats
ALABAMA TO MAKE STATE TOUR
This season the Crimson Tide will play almost all of Alabama's Division I women's basketball teams. In addition to it annual pair of games versus Auburn, the Tide is slated to play six other in-state opponents including Birmingham Southern, Samford, Jacksonville State, Alabama State, South Alabama and Troy State. Six of UA's seven non-SEC single games come against in-state foes and the state tour includes visits to Birmingham (BSU), Jacksonville (JSU) and Montgomery (ASU).
NON-SEC HOME STREAK CONTINUES
Coleman Coliseum has always been a difficult place to play for visiting teams, but it has been years since a non-SEC team has left the "old building" with a win against the Crimson Tide. Heading into this season, Alabama has won 45 straight non-SEC home contests. Bama's last home loss to a team outside the SEC was a to Clemson on Dec. 19, 1992.
70: A MAGIC NUMBER
Since the start of the 1997-98 seasons, when Alabama has scored 70 or more points they own a 51-12 mark. If the Tide can keep their opponents under that total, Bama is 63-11 (18-3 this year) during that stretch.
TIDE TABBED 9TH BY SEC MEDIA
In a poll of the media attending preseason SEC Basketball media days, the Crimson Tide was picked to finish ninth in the SEC this year. Tennessee was chosen as the favorite followed by Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi State, ALABAMA, South Carolina, Ole Miss and Kentucky.
NEWCOMERS LOOK TO MAKE IMPACT
Alabama class of six newcomers (five freshman and one transfer) having been making waves since their arrival at the Capstone. All of them are looking to make an impact on the Crimson Tide program with several looking to see immediate action. Junior transfer Jamilah Johns will be a key member of Bama's post rotation while the perimeter freshmen trio of Katie Sipe, Donyel Wheeler and Monique Bivins are all challenging for starting spots and significant playing time. Alabama's other two rookies (Natasha Gamble, Mivvi Strickland) are also making their presence known at the forward position.
BAMA SHINES IN EXHIBITIONS
Despite posting a 1-1 record in its preseason exhibition games this year, the Crimson Tide demonstrated a high-powered and fast-paced style of play. The Tide averaged 92.5 ppg and hit 12 three-pointers in the two contests. Bama also forced 48 turnovers. Against the Virgin Island All-Stars, Shondra Johnson led a trio of Tide players in double-figures with 13. All 5 Bama starters scored double-digits against Premier Players (mostly WNBA players) with Beth Vice's 24 leading the way.
A LOOK BACK AT 2000-01
Despite playing nearly every game short-handed by one injury or another, the 2000-01 Alabama Women's Basketball team enjoyed some lofty success last year. The Tide captured a pair of regular season tournament titles en route to posting the best start in school history, 9-0. UA finished its non-conference slate with a 12-1 record, another school best. The Tide recorded a pair of upset wins over nationally-ranked SEC opponents and earned just its second ever three-game season sweep of arch rival Auburn. Alabama finished tied for 8th in the SEC regular season and advanced to the 2nd round of the SEC Tournament for the 8th time in the last 9 years. UA earned a 10th consecutive post-season appearance and second straight invitation to the WNIT.
With Alabama's inclusion in the 2001 WNIT field, the Tide has now made 10 consecutive post-season appearances under head coach Rick Moody.
UA'S CARDIAC KIDS DID IT AGAIN & AGAIN
Close games were routine for the Tide in 2000-01. Alabama was 6-0 in games decided by 3 points or less and 8-1 when the margin was 5 or less. Bama won two games at the buzzer including a thriller Feb. 11 at Auburn (MSU on 1/21 was the other).
STREAKS ‘N' PEAKS
- LaNisha Cartwell has missed just one game in her three-year career and has played in 78 consecutive games.
- With its 19-12 record last year, Alabama posted its 12th consecutive winning season... Bama has also recorded 18 straight home winning home sea-sons.
- Bama owns a 45 game home win streak against non-SEC opponents
Tonight's game will serve as a renunion for several players. Alabama's Jamilah Johns was a prep teammate of Samford's Clarissa Clark at Starkville (Miss.) High school. Clark is also the cousin of Alabama football standout Freddie Milons... Manisha Redus (Alabama) and Morgan Vickery (Samford) played together at Decatur (Alabama) High School where they helped guide the team to the State Championship in 2000.
The Alabama roster features 9 players from the State of Alabama. This year's crop of five Tide freshmen included four in-state products including the reigning "Miss Basketball" - Donyel Wheeler (the seventh Bama "Miss Basketball" to continue her career at the Capstone)
Crimson Tide head coach Rick Moody is already the winningest women's basketball head coach in UA history. Heading into the 2001-02 season Moody needs just 15 wins to become the winningest basketball coach (men's or women's) in school history
BAMA'S WINNINGEST B'BALL COACHES:
- Wimp Sanderson 267
- Hank Crisp 264
- Rick Moody 253
Alabama owns a 125-45 (73.5%) all-time record versus other in-state schools. The Tide has played 16 schools within the state's borders and owns a winning record against all of them except one (Talladega — 4-6). UA holds a slight 27-25 advantage over archrival Auburn thanks to a three-game sweep of the Tigers last season. Against non-SEC in-state opponents, Bama has won 50 of its last 51 games with its lone loss coming last year against UAB in the second round of the WNIT
- Shondra Johnson needs just 34 points to become the 17th member of Alabama's 1,000 point Club... Johnson also needs only 4 assists for 400 in her career and her next FTA will be her 500th
- Beth Vice is 9 points shy of 500 for her career and with 112 3PM she only trails Nicole Carruth by 47 for 5th place on Bama's all-time list