It’s been easy to get lost in the hubbub surrounding the Men’s Basketball team which had its best season in school history, achieving a number of firsts.
But we would be remiss if we did not also tip the hat the ladies. For the second time in the last three season, Kristy Curry has led the Lady Tide to the NCAA Tournament, in what has been the best 3-year stretch for the women since Coach Moody was stalking the sidelines. And that was a quarter of a century ago.
This is the Tide’s 12th trip to NCAAs, and the 11th overall for Coach Curry. The 20-10 Crimson Tide are the 10th seed, and drew the nasty No. 7 Baylor Bears in Round One.
Their opponent on the 18th, Baylor, finished 6th in the very competitive Big 12 this season, but were buoyed by a late season surge that saw the powerhouse win seven of nine to close out the season. You can stream the game online or listen live here.
The Crimson Tide (20-10) return to the NCAA tournament for just the second time this millennium, last appearing in the event in 2021 (they reached the WNIT quarterfinals in 2022). First-team all-SEC pick Brittany Davis is a top-five scorer in the conference, one of several players who help make Alabama one of the most efficient 3-point shooting teams in the country. But coach Kristy Curry wasn’t thrilled with her squad’s outing in the SEC tournament’s second round, where the Tide were upset by 14-seed Kentucky, imploring them to step up and make the plays necessary to win this time of year. To make matters worse, it was their fourth consecutive loss. Curry hopes Alabama can turn things around to continue its streak of winning at least one game in each postseason it has played in since 2017.
The Bears fell short of winning the Big 12 regular-season title for the first time since 2010, which was also the last time they had fewer conference victories (9-7) than this season’s 10-8 mark. It’s understandable, though, after losing two WNBA first-round draft picks — NaLyssa Smith and Queen Egbo — and not getting what was hoped for from heralded transfers Aijha Blackwell (limited to eight regular-season games due to injury) and Dre’Una Edwards (not eligible to play this season).
Even so, the Bears had a solid interior game behind fifth-year senior Caitlin Bickle and freshman Darianna Littlepage-Buggs. Sarah Andrews led the guard play, along with Ja’Mee Asberry and Jaden Owens. And Baylor split its regular-season series with the top three finishers in the Big 12: Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa State. Baylor was upset as a No. 2 seed in the second round of the NCAA tournament last season; the Bears are more likely to be in upset mode themselves this year. — Voepel
Curry has been a steady hire, now in her 10th season at the Capstone. In the previous 13 years before her arrival, WBB had been to postseason play just one time — an NIT appearance. But in the decade since Curry arrived, the Tide have now been in the postseason 6 of 10 seasons, including advancing the Quarters three times in the NIT. In fact, under Curry, the Tide has only suffered one First Round exit.
Additionally, she graduates girls, runs a clean ship, and has by all accounts be a great ambassador for women’s basketball and the University.
Some candor is necessary here: Alabama women’s basketball is not ideally situated to be a power in the SEC, one of the most competitive leagues in WBB — and it simply may never be, given that it is largely a matter of resources. But Curry has acquitted herself well, making postseason play more often than not, has not had a losing season in 7 years, and has finished in the top half four seasons — and this was her best, a 5th place overall finish and 6-seed WSECT bid.
She has consistently been asked to do more with less — and generally succeeds, given those constraints. That alone deserves a helluva lot of credit.
Best of luck to the Lady Tide, and come what may, it’s been a great season.