Dec. 31, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The women's basketball team (10-4) will tip off the Southeastern Conference portion of its schedule on Sunday when it takes on South Carolina (11-2) at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C. The game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. CT.
"South Carolina is a very good basketball team," said Alabama head coach Wendell Hudson. "Their guards are really quick. We need to be sure to limit South Carolina to one shot and keep them from penetrating with the basketball."
The Crimson Tide has won its previous three contests, while the Gamecocks enter Sunday's matchup on a five-game winning streak. The meeting will mark the 29th in series history. South Carolina has won the previous three games against Alabama, including a 59-48 decision last season in Columbia.
Alabama had just one day in between contests as it last played on Friday, posting an 80-45 decision over Air Force at home. Junior guard Meghan Perkins notched the first double-double of her Tide career, finishing with a game-high 19 points in addition to 10 rebounds. She also led the game in steals with four. Junior forward Kyra Crosby, in her first start for Alabama, collected a career-high tying 13 points in addition to seven rebounds and a pair of blocks. The Tide posted a season-high 55 rebounds in the win, and dominated in the paint, outscoring the Falcons 40-6 down low.
On the season, the Tide is led in scoring by sophomore guard Jasmine Robinson, who averages 13.1 points per game. She is followed by Perkins (10.9 ppg) and senior Ericka Russell (10.4 ppg). Junior forward Erin Hogue leads Alabama in rebounds with 7.2 boards per game, while sophomore guard Khristin Lee has dished out a team-best 2.8 assists per contest. The Tide has three players with 20 or more steals on the season, led by Perkins' 26 thefts.
The Gamecocks last played on December 28, at Drexel, winning by a score of 62-58. Three players finished in double figures on the night, led by junior Ieasia Walker's 18-point performance. South Carolina shot 45.1 percent from the floor, but was just 17.6 percent from three-point range.
The Gamecocks are outscoring their opponents by 18.4 points per game. South Carolina's two losses on the season were decided by a combined seven points, coming to 11th-ranked Penn State, 55-50, and on the road at N.C. State, 55-53. Senior Markeshia Grant leads the Gamecocks on the season in scoring with 10.9 points per game.
"We had a pretty good non-conference schedule, and are looking forward to starting SEC play tomorrow," added Hudson. "The biggest thing for us as we go forward will be overcoming the little, nagging injuries we have had. It has prevented us from having the complete group together, so we look forward to that."