TUSCALOOSA The University of Alabama women’s basketball team opens its season at home for the second time under head coach Stephany Smith on Friday, Nov. 10, when the Tide welcomes instate rival Samford to Coleman Coliseum. The Tide and Bulldogs are slated to square off at 5 p.m.
“As we prepare for Samford, I understand the frustration other teams might have preparing for the triangle offense we run,” Smith said. “(Samford head coach) Mike Morris recruits players who are perfect for that system and fit it well. They are a veteran team, are very intelligent and are a seasoned group coming into the first game of the season.”
The women’s game is the first game of a scheduled doubleheader on Friday, with the Tide men slated to open their season against Jackson State after the Alabama-Samford women’s game.
Smith leads the Tide into the second year under her guidance. Alabama split its two exhibition games in the preseason, defeating West Alabama in the opener while falling to highly-ranked Delta State in the finale. Her roster features five returning players and seven newcomers from a season ago.
Among the returnees is senior guard Navonda Moore, a second team All-Southeastern Conference selection a season ago and a preseason second team pick heading into her senior year. Moore is the Tide’s leading returning scorer from 2005-06, when she scored 12.5 points per game.
True freshmen Nikki Davis and Talisha Chandler have seen the most action amongst the newcomers in the exhibition season. Davis averaged 27 minutes per game, while Chandler logged 25.5 in the two preseason contests. All seven of the Tide’s new faces played at least 11.5 minutes per game in the exhibitiong games, with four playing more than 20 minutes per outing.
Samford enters the 2006-07 campaign after the first 20-win season in school history in 2005-06. Head coach Mike Moore, in his fifth season with the Bulldogs, brings back two of his top three scorers from a year ago, when his team finished third in the Ohio Valley Conference.
The game is the seventh between the two schools all-time. Alabama owns a perfect 6-0 mark against Samford and has opened its season against the Birmingham-based school three times, most recently in the 2002-03 campaign.
Television coverage of the Tide-Bulldog match-up will be provided by WVUA in Tuscaloosa and the game can be heard on the Crimson Tide Radio Network, with David Crane calling the action. Fans in attendance can receive a free Alabama women’s basketball keychain.
Alabama plays its first road game of the year on Monday, Nov. 13, when the Tide travels to Jonesboro, Ark., to face Arkansas State. Tip-off is slated for 7:05 p.m.