March 5, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The women's basketball team (14-15, 7-9 SEC) will play LSU (18-11, 7-9 SEC) for the second time in five days on Thursday in the second round of the 2014 Southeastern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament, which is being played at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. The game will air live on SportSouth beginning at 5 p.m. CT with Dave Baker and Nell Fortner calling the action.
In addition to being televised by SportSouth, Thursday's game can be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network and in Tuscaloosa on 99.1 The Tide with Jim Tocco calling the action. Fans can also follow online via live video feed or live scoring on RollTide.com or on Twitter @AlabamaWBB.
The Crimson Tide and Tigers are meeting for the 53rd time in the series on Sunday. LSU leads 35-17, and had won 16 straight, until a 78-60 victory by Alabama on Sunday in the regular-season finale snapped that run. The two teams are meeting for the fifth time in the SEC Tournament, with both teams winning two games apiece in that series. The last meeting in the tournament came on March 3, 2011 in Nashville, where LSU came away with a 60-36 victory.
Alabama closed out its regular season with a 78-60 victory over No. 23 LSU. Shafontaye Myers paced the Crimson Tide with 15 points on her Senior Day to help the Crimson Tide to its first win against the Tigers since the 2002 season. With her first free throw at the 11:43 mark of the second half, the senior from Newbern, Ala., also reached the 1,000 point mark for her career, becoming the 24th member of the Tide's 1,000 point club, and the first to reach that milestone since Ericka Russell in 2012. Freshman Ashley Williams finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds to put together her fifth double-double of the season. Junior Daisha Simmons added 14 points and seven rebounds, and junior Sharin Rivers scored 12 points.
LSU has lost its last six-straight games, four of which were decided by five points or less. Last time out, the Tigers dropped a 78-60 decision at Alabama. Senior Theresa Plaisance was the only LSU player to finish in double figures as she recorded 26 points. The Tigers were solid from the free throw line, hitting 80 percent of their attempts (20-25), but despite the size advantage, were out-rebounded by the Tide, 41-37. The Tigers also committed 24 turnovers and recorded six assists, which is less than half their season average.
Kristy Curry is in her first season as head coach on the Alabama sidelines after spending seven seasons in the same position at Texas Tech (2006-13). Prior to her stint in Lubbock, she spent seven years as head coach of the Purdue Boilermakers (1999-2006). Curry's teams have made nine NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the championship game in 2001, in addition to winning two Big Ten regular season titles and compiling nine 20-win seasons. She holds an overall coaching record of 323-164.
The Tigers are under the direction of Nikki Caldwell, who is in her third season at LSU and sixth season overall. Caldwell has led LSU to two NCAA Tournament appearances, a Sweet 16 and a 63-34 record. She has a 540-135 record as a player, graduate assistant, assistant coach and head coach dating back to her freshman season of 1990-91 at Tennessee.
TIDE EARNS HIGHEST SEED AT THE SEC TOURNAMENT SINCE 1999
After its win on Sunday against LSU, Alabama was tabbed the No. 7 seed in the 2014 Southeastern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament, marking the highest seed for the Crimson Tide since it was No. 5 at the 1999 tournament. Since that year, Alabama has been the 10-13 seed in 10 of 14 seasons. The Tide was No. 13 in the 2013 tournament, indicating a six-seed jump from last season to this season, which is tied for the third-best improvement from one year to the next in seeding in conference tournament history.
WILLIAMS EARNS SEC ALL-FRESHMAN HONORS
Ashley Williams was named to the 2014 Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team, becoming the first for the Crimson Tider on the list since 2011.Williams, a native of Covington, Ga., has had a solid freshman campaign for Alabama, recording double-figure points in 21 games and double-figure rebounds five times. She is the only freshman in the SEC to rank in the top 20 in scoring and top 15 in rebounding against league opponents and has five double-doubles this season. A two-time SEC Freshman of the Week, Williams leads Alabama with 18.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in the last five games, which has lifted her season averages to 12.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per outing. She has scored a career-high 22 points twice this season and pulled down a career-best 15 rebounds against Mississippi State, which was the most for a Tide player in three years. Williams also earned Cavalier Classic All-Tournament Team honors after posting averages of 18.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in the two games in Charlottesville, Va.
WILLIAMS ONLY FRESHMAN IN TOP 20 IN POINTS AND TOP 15 IN REBOUNDS VS. SEC FOES
Ashley Williams is the only freshman in the Southeastern Conference to rank in the top 20 in scoring and top 15 in rebounding against league opponents. The Covington, Ga., native comes in at No. 17 in scoring, averaging 13.8 points in SEC contests, and No. 14 in rebounding with 6.9 boards per contest.
MYERS SCORES HER 1,000th POINT ON SENIOR DAY
It was a storybook ending to Shafontaye Myers' final regular-season contest in Foster Auditorium as she scored her 1,000th point on Senior Day in the win over LSU. Myers hit the milestone with 11:43 to go in the second half on her first made free throw of that trip to the line. She finished the game with 15 points, bringing her career total to 1,003. Myers is the 24th member of Alabama's 1,000-point club and the first to reach it since Ericka Russell did so in 2012.
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