Women's Basketball Holds First Official Practice of the 2012-13 Season

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Nikki Hegstetter asks for additional instruction at the Tide's first practice on Tuesday
Nikki Hegstetter asks for additional instruction at the Tide's first practice on Tuesday

Oct. 2, 2012

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama women's basketball team took the floor on Tuesday for its first official practice of the 2012-13 season. The Crimson Tide begins its journey in 34 days when it hosts Stillman in an exhibition matchup on Monday, Nov. 5, at 6:30 p.m. CT. The regular season opener will be held six days later on Sunday, Nov. 11, against Jacksonville State at 2 p.m. CT.

"There has been a great attitude regarding effort," said Alabama head coach Wendell Hudson, who is entering his fifth season at the helm. "Those that played last year are eager to have a better basketball team, and the ones that had to sit out due to transfer rules or injury, in addition to our three freshmen, are really hungry to play. You could tell that the team was bonding a lot more even before we got started with practice. You can see that they are trusting in each other to do their part and step their game up."

Alabama returns four of its starters from a season ago in guards Khristin Lee, Jessica Merritt, Meghan Perkins and Jasmine Robinson. Robinson, who was a staple to the Alabama offense in 2011-12, returns as the Tide's leading scorer with 11.4 points per game. Perkins was second on the team in scoring with 9.4 points per game and led the team in rebounds with 5.4 per game.

Also returning for Alabama are guards Celiscia Farmer, Shafontaye Myers and Erika Waters. Farmer, the Tide's lone four-year senior, has caught Hudson's eye recently as he's seen her step into more of a senior leader role.

"Celiscia has started to talk and communicate a lot better out there on the floor and has really embraced her position," Hudson explained. "She has really improved from a defensive standpoint in the offseason, and she's doing as great a job as anyone."

The Tide is able to active five players that were sidelined last season in forwards Kaneisha Horn, Briana Hutchen, Brittany Jack and Alicia Mitcham and guard Daisha Simmons. Horn was inactive after having season-ending surgery to repair a torn ACL, while Mitcham focused on her academics for the year and ended up completing her undergraduate degree. Hutchen, Jack and Simmons all transferred to Alabama and, per NCAA rules, had to sit out for one season.

"I don't think there's any question that sitting out and having to watch has given these five added motivation heading into this season," said Hudson. "You could tell there was a lot of excitement when they came back. All five of them see themselves being able to play a lot this year, and that has certainly helped motivate the others."

Rounding out the roster are the three freshmen in guards Emily Davis and Jasmine Steele and forward Nikki Hegstetter.

"Like the five that sat out last year, our freshmen have come in energized and hungry to begin competing," Hudson said. "They certainly add to our quality numbers and will help the depth of the team tremendously."

Season tickets are currently on sale for $40. Single-game tickets will go on sale at a later date to be announced. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here or by calling the Alabama Ticket Office at 1-877-TIDETIX (843-3849).

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