Alabama vs Missouri
When: 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Mizzou Arena
Records: Alabama 16-15, 5-10 SEC; Missouri 20-9, 9-6 SEC
Broadcast: SEC Network +
Radio: 100.1 FM
Against Ole Miss, Alabama women’s basketball guard Taylor Berry finished with four points, while in the loss to Georgia, Berry played in 10 minutes but didn’t record any stats. Both games, she didn’t dazzle in the final box score, but she played her role as a leader.
Against Ole Miss, she stole the ball, hit a big three, took a charge and drew a technical foul against one of the Rebel defenders.
In the Georgia game, Cierra Johnson drove to the basket and was fouled, landing hard on the ground around the baseline. Berry, who was at the top of the key, sprinted over to her, picked her up and gathered the players on the floor into a huddle to make sure everyone was on the same page.
“She’s just a good leader on and off the court,” Johnson said.
Leadership has been where Alabama has needed a boost all season. The loss of six seniors took a toll on the team at the start of the year, while Jordan Lewis’ injury added to that leadership deficit.
In that absence, Berry stepped up, developing her leadership from former players and coach Kristy Curry.
“I just try to be a team advocate for her,” Berry said.
To the naked eye, Berry might not be an obvious candidate for team leader. She started at Alabama as a walk-on, playing in 19 games while not on scholarship. She earned a scholarship before her junior year and played in 12 games as a junior.
As a senior, she’s appeared in 21 games and is setting career highs in every category.
“She’s the perfect example of a player that comes in understands that it’s not about me, it’s about we,” Curry said. “She’s one of those kids that has continued to get better. She really understands the game.”
Since she is more of a role player during the game, Berry’s leadership isn’t seen as much throughout games, except when she’s talking on the bench.
There are two areas where her leadership is clearly visible. The first is the way she practices.
“She’ll come out with a lot of energy every single day and a smile on her face,” Curry said. “She’s a naturally vocal person … She’ll say things and try to be a good influence and good example.”
The second is in the classroom, as she was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll the last two years. Alongside the demanding time commitment that being a Division I athlete, Berry is pursuing a degree in chemical engineering.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned in my four years is, it’s all about time management,” she said. “Its just delegating and realizing what I have to get done and getting it done… I make sure that I keep school, school and basketball, basketball, and giving 100 percent to both.”
After graduating in May, Berry has decided to pursue an MBA to “open up some more doors.”
“There’s a lot you can do with chemical engineering, which is why I ended up choosing it,” Berry said.