Nov. 27, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The Alabama women's basketball team heads to California over the holiday break to take part in the Saint Mary's College Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic, which will take place Friday, Nov. 29, and Saturday, Nov. 30 at McKeon Pavilion. The Crimson Tide faces the host Gaels in its first matchup on Friday at 4 p.m. CT and will take on Cal State Fullerton in Saturday's game at 2 p.m. CT.
Friday's game can be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network on Tide 99.1 FM with Mick Gillispie calling the action, while Saturday's game will air on 790 AM. Fans can also follow online via live video feed or live scoring on RollTide.com or on Twitter @AlabamaWBB.
After starting the season 0-3 with losses at Chattanooga, at No. 15/12 Nebraska and at No. 2/2 Duke, Alabama has won its last two games, beating Wisconsin, 70-62, and Alabama A&M, 60-32, at home. In addition to its entire coaching staff, the Crimson Tide started out the season with eight new faces, two of which earned their way into the starting lineup in Khadijah Carter and Karyla Middlebrook. Alabama is led offensively by Shafontaye Myers, the Tide's only senior, who averages a team-high 11.4 points per game. Daisha Simmons leads Alabama in nearly every other category, including rebounds (6.2 rpg), assists (4.0 rpg), steals (3.0 spg) and blocks (1.2 bpg).
Scouting Saint Mary's
Saint Mary's enters Friday's matchup unbeaten with a 5-0 record. The Gaels' closest game thus far came at Butler where Saint Mary's escaped with a 90-86 overtime victory. Jackie Nared leads the way offensively for the Gaels, scoring an average of 23.7 points per game large in part to a career-high 37 points in the win over Washington. Nared has not played since the Butler game; however that has not slowed down the Gaels scoring efforts as three of her teammates also average double-figure points (Danielle Mauldin - 19.2 ppg; Kate Gaze - 16.4 ppg; Lauren Nicholson - 13.4 ppg). Maldin leads the team in rebounds with 13.6 boards per game, while Gaze has dished out a team-best 4.6 assists per contest.
Scouting Cal State Fullerton
Cal State Fullerton heads to the tournament with a 1-3 record and will take on the Toledo Rockets in its first game of the Saint Mary's College Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic. The Titans opened the 2013-14 season with three-straight losses before picking up their first win on Nov. 22 at Columbia, 80-54. Fullerton is led in points by Chante Miles, who contributes 17.3 points per game in addition to 4.0 assists per contest. Kathleen Iwuoha has been the Titans' top rebounder thus far, pulling down 5.5 boards per outing.
Series History vs. Saint Mary's
Alabama and Saint Mary's will be meeting for the fourth time in program history and the first since 2007. The Crimson Tide has won all three prior matchups with the first coming on Nov. 23, 1983 (85-47), followed by Dec. 21, 1999 (61-59) and Dec. 9, 2007 (66-56).
Series History vs. Cal State Fullerton
The Crimson Tide and Titans are facing each other for the first time in nearly 20 years as the one and only game between the two was played on Dec. 8, 1984 in Las Vegas. Cal State Fullerton came away with 65-64 win to lead the series 1-0.
Kristy Curry enters 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 311-152.
Saint Mary's is under the direction of Paul Thomas, who is in his eight season as the Gaels' head coach. Last season, he guided Saint Mary's to a 23-win season, the most since the 2000-01 season, and a spot in the Women's National Invitation Tournament quarterfinals. Prior to arriving in Moraga, Thomas spent 12 seasons as head coach at Cal Poly Pomona, where he led the Broncos to back-to-back NCAA Division II National Championships in 2001 and 2002. Other collegiate coaching stops for Thomas include serving as the head coach at Hamline University from after being an assistant coach at Wayne State College.
Daron Park is in his first season as the head coach of Cal State Fullerton. Park spent last season as the associate head coach at USC. Prior to USC, Park has coached as an associate and assistant at California, Louisiana Tech, Maryland and Utah. In seven of his nine years as a coach his team has qualified for the NCAA tournament and three years his teams have reached the Elite Eight. Park enters his first season as a head coach and is the first male head coach in Cal State Fullerton women's basketball history. Park recorded his first win as the head coach of the Titans on Nov. 22 versus Columbia.