WBB Analysis | Shooters Shoot: Offense propels Tide to third straight win

Alabama women’s basketball is making serious improvements when it comes to taking chances on offense.


Sunday afternoon was an offensive clinic led by the Alabama women’s basketball team. Alabama shot their way to a third straight win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs, with spreading the ball and sharp shooting forging the path to success.

Spreading the Wealth

In what could be considered Alabama’s most complete performance, the Crimson Tide’s ability to create looks for their shotmakers was a key to their effective shooting.

It is also the key to why Alabama won the game.

During Alabama’s four game losing streak, the Crimson Tide struggled to create easy looks for their offense. The different press defenses the team did not allow Alabama to set up their zone offense. Opposing defenses were able to pressure Alabama to make errant passes. Alabama’s offense is built around ball passing. Without it, Alabama’s offense becomes ineffective.

That has changed and at the right time for the Crimson Tide.

In that four-game losing stretch, the Crimson Tide’s shooting average was 34.7%. A part of the team’s dip in shooting percentages was the fact that Alabama could not set up their shots.

Sunday afternoon was a reminder of how effective this team is at creating shots.

For example, late in the fourth quarter, senior guard Ariyah Copeland made an easy layup surrounded by two defenders. The play was set up by a down low pass from senior forward Jasmine Walker. Walker could have taken the three-point shot.

Walker decided to take the look inside the paint and it paid off. After the game, Copeland talked about how helpful her teammates have been in creating looks for her in games.

“I gotta give my credit to my teammates, who found me,” Copeland said. “You know, they [Mississippi State] made some adjustments, but you know, we made some adjustments, too. Like I said, kudos to them [her teammates], because they were wide open.”

During that losing streak, easy looks similar to the one above did not come for the Crimson Tide. The different press defenses Alabama faced made it hard for Alabama to penetrate opposing defenses to create screens for players. For Alabama set up screens and easy looks the way they did against Mississippi State’s defense shows that Alabama is understanding defenses. The Crimson Tide is also not taking—nor being forced to take—any more than the defense gives them. The team must be able to spread the ball around effectively, heading into the last two games of the season. Effective ball passing sets up the screens and shots Alabama wants to have. Without it, Alabama becomes a little less hard to beat.

Take The Shot

Setting up screens and easy looks is great. However, it takes shooters to take those looks and turn them into points. Alabama did just that against Mississippi State.

For example, about 20 seconds into the first quarter, junior guard Hannah Barber began the shooting fest with an easy three pointer. The shot was set up by a pass for junior guard Megan Abrams.

Abrams recognizing that Barber had the best look shows that the team is reading defenses more effectively. However, Barber making that shot shows that Alabama looks comfortable making shots again. Going back to the four-game losing streak, there were instances where Alabama was able to get a favorable look. However, the team could not make the shot.

Sunday afternoon was a different story.

Alabama started off hot, shooting for 53.3% from the field and over 60% from 3 point range. Slowly but surely, Alabama has improved their shooting percentages in each game since that crushing loss to Ole Miss. After the game, senior guard Jordan Lewis discussed why Alabama’s shooting was so effective in Sunday’s matchup.

“Shooters shoot and you can’t make a basket if you don’t shoot,” Lewis said. “So I just think it’s confidence and preparation.”

Alabama looked extremely confident in their shots Sunday afternoon. Even after a miss or a drought, Alabama kept trying for shots. The team knew that the players were able and prepared to make the shots.

The Crimson Tide’s plan was to show fans and their opponent that Alabama can still make the shots.

Alabama cooled off a bit and finished 47.6% in overall shooting. What is important here is that Alabama is making the shots. Sunday’s final shooting percentage is well above the average shooting percentage during their four game losing streak (34.7%). To be shooting that well going into the last two games of the season highlights the hard work Alabama has been doing in practice to get better.

The Alabama women’s basketball team has found their mojo again.

Keep an eye out for if this continues against the No. 5 Texas A&M Bulldogs.