Tampa Travels: Women’s basketball takes on South Florida in bid to move to 3-0

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

The Alabama women’s basketball team is awaiting an important stretch of games in the Bahamas during Thanksgiving week, but one more game remains until tipoff at the Pink Flamingo Championships. 

The Crimson Tide (2-0) will continue its time away from Tuscaloosa with a Wednesday contest against the University of South Florida Bulls in Tampa, Florida. 

The Bulls (3-0) are days removed from a 70-59 win against Jacksonville University. So far, all of South Florida’s games have been at home. USF also defeated Morehead State University and Florida A&M University.  

South Florida finished 24-9 in 2021, winning twice in its conference tournament. That was good enough to earn the program a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The 2020 Bulls were able to advance to the Round of 32 and had 19 victories.  

Alabama won 72-61 over the Tulane University Green Wave last Thursday. Across two games, the Crimson Tide has scored a total of 170 points. That includes a 98-51 domination of the Alabama A&M University Bulldogs in the season opener. 

“It’s going to have to be a much more improved effort with our ability to take care of the basketball, defend the glass and defend without the foul,” head coach Kristy Curry said. “They do such a tremendous job, it’s an NCAA Tournament team.” 

Against Tulane, Alabama had 25 fouls and turned the ball over more than 15 times. Despite the win, these are fundamental areas that can cause teams to end up on the wrong end of close games, particularly in road environments. There has been, and will be, no shortage of road tests for the Crimson Tide in the early stages of the new season.  

“We’ve just got to continue to take care of the little things,” Curry said. “I think any coach in this scenario loves this time of year because we have a lot of teaching that can happen.” 

If Alabama is to move to 3-0, minimizing turnovers is a must. Playing in a hostile environment is hard, but a group with chemistry like Alabama has the capability to play a complete game. Correspondingly, bringing down the number of fouls is another must. The offense has been strong through two games and is able to score a lot of points at a very fast pace. Intensity and physicality on defense are already apparent. Curry stated several times after the matchup against Tulane that defending without fouling is important.  

In the quest to remain undefeated, Alabama’s got another challenge on its hands. Curry and her players are aware of the opportunities to grow with tests such as Wednesday’s game and the implications games like this can have when it comes time for conference play.  

Tipoff in Tampa is set for 6 p.m. CT on ESPN+. 

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]