Women’s basketball ready for second NCAA Tournament in three seasons

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

In a season with many accomplishments the program has not seen since the 1990s, the Alabama women’s basketball team is heading back to the NCAA Tournament. 

The Crimson Tide, winners of 20 regular season games for the first time this century, were announced as a No. 10 seed on Sunday night. Alabama will match up against No. 7 seed Baylor on Saturday afternoon in Storrs, Connecticut, in its second tournament appearance in three seasons. 

“It’s really special to see this group get to celebrate an opportunity to continue our season, especially at the NCAA tourney,” said Alabama head coach Kristy Curry. “It’s really, really hard to do, and this group has done so much good all season long.” 

Some of those good things the group has done include (but aren’t limited to) the 20 victories, a winning conference record and a five-game SEC road winning streak — the first such streak in program history. Guards Brittany Davis and Hannah Barber were honored with SEC postseason awards, Davis as a member of the All-SEC First Team and Barber as the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.  

The Crimson Tide players are highly motivated for this matchup. In addition to the ramifications of an NCAA Tournament game, Alabama closed the regular season on a four-game skid. Erasing that skid with a victory in the opening round of the Big Dance would be about as emphatic a way to get back on track as any. 

“We didn’t end [the regular season] how we wanted to,” Davis said. “We have to reset and prepare how we’ve been doing every day in practice, and get better — take it one day at a time.” 

Barber said it was important to take the next opportunity to get in the win column. 

“As a competitor, anytime you’re coming off a loss, you’re ready for the next game to try to be on the other end of it, and I think that’s the approach we’ve tried to take,” she said.  

The last time the Crimson Tide was in the tournament, it won its first-round game against The University of North Carolina. The matchup was also a 7-10 game. Davis and Barber were on that team, though Davis didn’t play. Barber had 14 points in the game. 

Curry also touched on the significance of the fact that both the Alabama men’s and women’s basketball programs are dancing in 2023. 

“When you have both programs [in], it speaks so much to the support that both of us have,” she said. “It’ll be interesting to go see how many men’s and women’s teams make the tournament. I think it speaks volumes to the commitment of our fan base and our administration.” 

Alabama will tip off against the Bears in Connecticut at 4:30 p.m. CT on March 18. The game will be televised on ESPN2. 

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