Women’s basketball selected to the WNIT, faces Troy Thursday night


Courtesy of the SEC Media Portal

Alabama guard Brittany Davis attempts to score in the paint during Sunday’s 77-71 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores on Feb. 6, 2022.

Ashlee Woods | @ashleemwoods, Sports Editor

The Crimson Tide is not done yet. 

On Sunday, the WNIT selection committee announced the 64-team field for the 2022 tournament. The Alabama Crimson Tide earned an at-large bid and will face Troy University on March 17.  This is the Crimson Tide’s eighth appearance in the WNIT and their first since the 2017-2018 season. This is also Alabama’s fourth WNIT appearance under head coach Kristy Curry. 

“We are thrilled to welcome each of these 64 programs to the Postseason WNIT, as they’ve all had to confront pandemic challenges while continuing to put in work in the classroom and on the court in representing their schools,” WNIT event director Jared Rudiger said. “But through it all the level of basketball skill just keeps escalating, and that should make the WNIT an exciting showcase as teams dig deep for a memorable championship run.”

There are two other SEC teams in the WNIT. The Vanderbilt Commodores also received an at-large bid and the Missouri Tigers were an automatic qualifier. 

Alabama swept the Commodores this season and lost to the Tigers 77-61 on Jan. 30 in Coleman Coliseum. 

Last season, Alabama made the NCAA Women’s Tournament for the first time since 1999. A quarterfinal run at the 2022 SEC Tournament wasn’t enough to convince the NCAA selection committee to pick the Crimson Tide in back-to-back seasons. Alabama finished the regular season 17-13, with a 6-10 record in conference play. The Crimson Tide won five of their last seven games. 

The Crimson Tide, however, didn’t receive any favors from the selection committee. The Trojans are the 2022 Sun Belt Conference champions and are No. 1 in the country in rebounding. Despite leading the overall series record 17-3, Alabama hasn’t played Troy since 2013.

Alabama has struggled outside of Coleman Coliseum this season. The Crimson Tide bolsters an 11-6 record in Tuscaloosa, but a mere 4-5 record on the road. The Trojans, on the other hand, are a staggering 12-1 at Trojan Arena. Troy’s lone loss at home was against Little Rock on Jan. 30. 

The Crimson Tide does have the upper hand in this matchup, however. Alabama hasn’t lost to the Trojans since 1979. The Crimson Tide is also 8-2 at Troy, with their last loss being in 1975.

Although it wasn’t the plan Curry had envisioned for the 2021-2022 Crimson Tide, she calls this trip to the WNIT “a blessing.” Curry hopes that this experience will be a springboard into next season. 

“I think [playing in the] postseason is a blessing and I think this team understands that and is thankful for the opportunity,” Curry said. “We understand that this tournament can help prepare you for future years.” 

The WNIT can be vital to postseason experience and even success in the NCAA tournament. Three of the last four WNIT champions — Michigan, Arizona and Indiana — will host round of 64 matchups. Florida, now the No. 10 seed in the Bridgeport region, made it to the second round of the 2021 tournament. Last season’s runner-up, Ole Miss, is now the No. 7 seed in the Wichita region. 

The Rebels aren’t the only team representing the SEC in the NCAA Women’s Tournament. Eight SEC schools were selected to the field. Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, LSU, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida and Ole Miss all earned bids.

The WNIT tips off on March 16. Tipoff for the Crimson Tide will be on Friday, March 17 at 6:00 pm CT on ESPN3. The final will be held on Saturday, April 2 on the CBS Sports Network.