Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Crimson Tide tested in SEC road games

Most college basketball programs would not be familiar with consecutive road games against ranked teams as soon as January. After falling on the road to No. 10 South Carolina 77-51 Sunday, Alabama (8-10, 1-4) will visit another top-10 team in the No. 9 Kentucky Wildcats (15-3, 3-2) Thursday before returning home Sunday to face Georgia (14-5, 2-4).

Junior Briana Hutchen said the back-to-back trips to Nebraska and Duke in November helped prepare the team for this weekend.

“I think that we’re more prepared than any team in the country because we play such great programs beforehand, and it got us experience,” Hutchen said. “Especially being a young team, it got us experienced playing on the road against tough teams, so it doesn’t really faze us as much. It’s something we’ve prepared for, we’ve done before, and it’s just another game.”

Kentucky will mark the third overall road game against a top-10 team, as Duke was No. 2 when the Crimson Tide visited Cameron Indoor Stadium Nov. 17. Alabama previously faced the Wildcats in Foster Auditorium Jan. 2 to open SEC play.

Though the game ended in an 85-63 loss for the Crimson Tide, Hutchen said she believes the team will be better prepared for the rematch.

“Definitely just taking more care of the ball and being more prepared for the travel,” Hutchen said. “That’s probably the first team since Duke that really pressed us hard the entire game, and I think just takeaway from that, our experience and looking back at film and seeing what we did wrong and just learning from it, and hopefully we’ll apply those things that we learned.”

Kentucky is currently tied for fourth in the country in scoring with just under 89 points per game. That mark, the best in the conference, goes along with senior Samarie Walker, who leads the SEC in rebounds per game.

Coach Kristy Curry talked before the game about the Crimson Tide’s lack of success on the road against SEC teams.

“When you look at our team, we’ve got the one senior, [Shafontaye Myers]. She’s won five conference games on the road in her career,” Curry said. “Everyone else on that bench has won one. That’s another situation and another experience we’ve got to learn how to do. And at some point, you get tired of it not going for you. You’ve got to step up and do something about it as a player.”

Although the Crimson Tide’s lone SEC win came at home against Ole Miss Jan. 12, Curry admitted playing in venues such as Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum is something special.

“I think that if you’re a basketball fan, if you’re a basketball coach, you’re going to love playing in those environments,” she said. “You know, there’s no better feeling as a coach to watch your players win on the road. And that’s something, you know, that you want to see your players do and you want to help them do.”

After Kentucky, the Crimson Tide will return home Jan. 26 to face Georgia. The Bulldogs are coming off consecutive conference wins against Arkansas and Florida.

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