Women’s basketball goes for 20th win against Vanderbilt

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

The Alabama women’s basketball team won 20 games last season and may win its 20th of this season on Thursday night against Vanderbilt. 

The Crimson Tide (19-6, 8-4 SEC) has put together three consecutive wins and is now approaching an important milestone — 20 wins — as it seeks to return to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons. 

To reach that mark, Alabama must get past a Vanderbilt team that has struggled since entering league play. At 11-15, the Commodores have just two SEC wins, but Alabama head coach Kristy Curry said that record is deceiving. 

“Perception isn’t reality,” Curry said. “[Vanderbilt is] so well coached, they execute so well on both sides of the ball. … They have consistently gotten better as the year has gone on and played some really close games. We have to be ready to play.” 

The Alabama team has come ready to play in its recent contests, with two straight games featuring four players in double figures. Guard Brittany Davis has continued to show out, winning SEC Co-Player of the Week for her efforts against Kentucky and Auburn, but the players around her have continued to step up to complement that.  

This trend will be an important one to continue if Alabama is to secure win No. 20 on Thursday. 

“I think the whole team has been gaining confidence, and that’s why we’re able to have four people in double figures,” said guard Aaliyah Nye. “I think we’re getting to know each other- like Ryan [Cobbins] likes to catch it in the post, I like to shoot, Sarah Ashlee [Barker] likes to drive — I think we’re learning each other each day as we practice and that’s what’s really brought us to this point in our season.” 

Nye and guards Cobbins and Barker joined Davis as double-figure scorers in the Crimson Tide’s most recent game against Auburn. Curry said she sees her team share the basketball a lot in practice, adding that selflessness wins.  

“It’s something we talk about a lot, the extra pass, the and-one, sharing the ball,” Curry said. “They’re continuing to get to know each other and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and how to put each other in a position to be successful. It makes a big difference when you just have a really high-character group of kids that are willing to share and be about the front of their chest.” 

Vanderbilt enters Thursday’s game as winners of just one of their last four games. The only league wins for the Commodores have come against Texas A&M and Arkansas. However, there is no truly easy game in the SEC. Complacency is not something the Crimson Tide can afford.  

The matchup with the Commodores is the penultimate home game of the season for Alabama. Tipoff for the crucial game is set for 6 p.m. CT on Thursday, Feb. 16. 

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