Tigers, Take One: Women’s basketball draws Missouri in return home

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

The Alabama women’s basketball team is set for its first home game in the new year. Thursday night will be the first of two games in a gauntlet of Tiger-mascot teams, with Missouri slated to visit Coleman Coliseum. 

Alabama (12-3, 1-1 SEC) is also searching for its first win of the 2023 calendar year following a New Year’s Day road defeat at the hands of Tennessee. The loss ended a 10-game winning streak which had been standing since before the Thanksgiving holiday. In its only other conference outing to date this season, the Crimson Tide staved off a late comeback and squeaked by Georgia on home court. 

“We had two really good experiences last week – one that we learned a lot from having success, and one that we learned a lot from not having success,” Alabama head coach Kristy Curry said. “We’re just excited about hitting the restart button and continuing to grow and get better.” 

The Tennessee contest featured a solid performance from the Alabama bench, with the two leading scorers in crimson coming off the bench in the game. That included Megan Abrams, a veteran of the team who led the way with 24 points in defeat. Abrams, who has extensive starting experience, said she just wants to win. 

“I just want to help my team win,” Abrams said. “If [Coach Curry] says, ‘This is what I want you to do,’ then I’m going to go out there and do it. I know she wants to win as much as I do, and as much as the team does.” 

Another seasoned Crimson Tide player, Hannah Barber, had the hot hand against Georgia. She sank half of the eight long-range shots Alabama made in that matchup, and she’s not coming into the Missouri game complacent. 

“There’s no game in this conference slate that we can overlook,” Barber said. “We know that the next 14 are going to be equally competitive, and we have to continue to show up for each one.” 

Missouri (13-2, 2-0 SEC) has used the opening stretch of league play as a rebound of sorts after having a five-game winning streak of its own dashed immediately prior. The Tigers have defeated Kentucky and gone into hostile territory to win at Auburn, where Alabama plays next after Thursday. Coincidentally, Missouri also played in the Bahamas in November and, like the Crimson Tide, defeated Wake Forest.  

Missouri also has yet to drop a true road game. To win this one, Alabama will need to do a better job of closing out the game, while also staying on top of things in the first half to avoid repeating events like the lopsided second quarter Tennessee used to take command of things. The Crimson Tide is capable of getting the job done, particularly within home confines, but faces a challenge against its first Tiger opponent of the week. 

Tipoff in Coleman Coliseum for Alabama’s third SEC game is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT on Thursday, Jan. 5. 

Questions or comments? Email Blake Byler (Sports Editor) at [email protected]