Jan. 9, 2010
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The women's basketball team (8-7, 0-2 SEC) returns to the hardwood Sunday, Jan. 11 when it hosts South Carolina (7-7, 0-2 SEC) at 2:00 p.m. (CST) in Coleman Coliseum. Both the Crimson Tide and Gamecocks are in search of their first Southeastern Conference victory.
"The biggest thing for us right now is we've got to put together 40 minutes of basketball," said head coach Wendell Hudson. "We played a solid 25 minutes against Georgia and only about 10 quality minutes versus Ole Miss. Before we started conference play we had a few complete games, and now we need to do that against our SEC competition. We know our opponents in this league are going to be tough every night, so our main focus is on us and what we can control ourselves."
Last time out Alabama dropped a 70-56 decision on the road against Mississippi despite a 22-point performance from sophomore Ericka Russell. The Tuscaloosa native dropped in a career-high-tying five three-pointers, all of which she scored in the second half. The Tide used a 10-1 run late in the game to cut the 21-point Rebel lead to 10, but couldn't manage to get any closer and eventually ran out of clock.
Alabama's junior class continues to be a huge factor in its offensive presence scoring 55.0 percent of the Tide's points. In addition, the third-year players have pulled down 296 of Alabama's 660 rebounds on the season, good for an overall percentage of 44.8. Tierney Jenkins continues to lead the SEC in boards per game and ranks 23rd in the nation with an average of 9.9 rebounds per contest.
South Carolina has played a grueling schedule already facing six teams amongst the top 25. In those games, the Gamecocks hold a 1-5 record. South Carolina has lost four of its last five games, however three of those losses came to teams ranked 12 or better.
The Gamecocks were last in action on Thursday when they suffered a 79-62 loss to No. 4 Tennessee in Knoxville. A trio of South Carolina players notched double-figure points led by junior Valerie Nainima with 16 points. Nainima averages 18.6 points per game ranking her third amongst the league's best scorers. Freshman Kelsey Bone also averages double-figure points for the Gamecocks with 13.8 points per game, good for No. 12 in the SEC. Bone ranks second behind Jenkins in rebounds as well with an average of 9.8 boards per outing.
Sunday's meeting will be the 27th in the series that dates back to the 1979 season. Alabama holds a slight margin at 14-12, however South Carolina has won four of the last five. The Gamecocks won the only meeting last season 68-57 in Columbia. The Tide's last win against South Carolina came on Jan. 10, 2008, by a score of 65-54.
Admission for the game is $5 for adults and $3 for youth 18 and under. Season tickets are currently on sale for $40 for the general public and $25 for University of Alabama faculty and staff. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Alabama Ticket Office at 1.877.TIDETIX (843.3849).
For those unable to attend, live stats will be available and can be found by clicking here. In addition, a radio broadcast of the action can be found on the Crimson Tide Sports Network. For local channel information, click here.