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

Women’s basketball team ready for Florida offense

The Alabama women’s basketball team will be looking to continue its form coming out of a weekend of upsets.

The Crimson Tide beat No.6 Kentucky at the buzzer in Lexington, Ky., last Thursday and returned home to narrowly edge the Georgia Bulldogs 69-66 Sunday afternoon. The wins were the program’s first consecutive conference victories since 2006, but the team will face a stern test when it travels to Florida to take on an offense averaging 73 points per game.

To senior Shafontaye Myers, however, the underdog role is one for Alabama to relish.

“We embrace it, and we grow and learn from it,” Myers said. “We just go out and prove that we’re just as good as the rest of them.”

Myers, in particular, will have a tough matchup since she is likely to be charged with guarding Florida’s leading scorer Jaterra Bonds, a guard who has gotten to the free-throw line 139 times and is averaging 16.3 points per game.

“I’ve played against her for two or three years,” Myers said. “She’s a good, sound guard who will push the ball down the floor, looks to operate the offense and is a scoring guard. She’s a solid guard.”

Assistant coach Kelly Curry said the team will be prepared for the high-octane style of the Gators, and for Bonds.

“She’s a very dynamic guard who can do a lot of things with the basketball,” Curry said. “She puts a lot of pressure on the defense by attacking off the dribble. They run the floor on offense and defense. The biggest thing that’s impressed us is how hard they play … Maybe they don’t have as many individuals that are as good [as last year], but they’re better as a team.”

A particular point of emphasis for the Crimson Tide this weekend will be pace of play, Curry said. While the Gators will seek to run out to create scoring opportunities, Alabama will want to control the flow of the game.

“I think it all starts with transition defense,” Curry said. “We’ve got to get the ball slowed down because even against a [made shot], they’re looking to get out and push the ball down the floor. If you’re not giving the same amount of effort to get down the floor, you’re in trouble … All their guards are good at forcing penetration down the floor.

Curry said this weekend’s game will be another chance to establish consistency in the team, which will be riding an emotional high after the weekend’s big victories.

“We’re focusing more on the process than anything else,” Curry said. “It’s all about how you handle [success] … I thought we did a much better job handling it against Georgia than we had previously, and it’s a learning process. There’s a lot that we’re going through this season that this group hasn’t been through.”

In their first season as coaches, Curry and his wife, head coach Kristy Curry, sought to change the mentality of the program, which they credit for much of their early success.

“When we came in, we told them, ‘We can control our attitudes, and we can control our effort,’” Kelly said. “I think the kids have done a really good job of buying in. I’ve seen, in the last couple of weeks, leadership start to emerge. I think a team is at its best when they’re playing for each other.”

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