“Hannah (Cook) said it best,” Alabama women’s basketball coach Kristy Curry noted. “She said, ‘Everybody wants to sit around and talk about what we don’t do. Let’s talk about what we can do.’”
It was a message Cook gave her team after the rough week the Crimson Tide recently endured. Alabama lost it’s first game of the season in blowout fashion to N.C. State, and followed up the poor performance with another underwhelming showing in a five-point loss to Elon.
The Crimson Tide’s preseason goal of avoiding back-to-back losses was nixed, and it happened in November.
The trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida last week for the Puerto Rico Clasico Tournament was supposed to be a resume boost before conference play, but the losses have turned up the pressure for the remaining non-conference slate. Now the Crimson Tide is in danger of letting its tougher schedule backfire with three-straight losses.
“It’s soft to consistently think about anything but positives,” Curry said. “So, our focus has been toughness and moving forward, because that’s the SEC. That’s what we are about to jump into — it’s about to be like a blazing fire. We’re going to have to handle the fire, and hopefully these two experiences in Fort Lauderdale we can learn from.”
The fire consists of five SEC teams ranked in the AP Top 25, and eight teams that have one loss or fewer. The non-conference missteps came a bit sooner than the Crimson Tide anticipated, but they could be a blessing when the schedule gets more grueling late in the season.
“Yes, it was a tough stretch, and it is earlier,” Curry said. “But I will say this: The past is the past. This is a different team, a different year, a different moment. It was two different opponents, and we’ve had a tougher schedule. These things are there for a reason, and I hope we can capitalize on what’s in place.”
The first step to righting the ship is to get healthy. Alabama was without its starting point guard, Jordan Lewis, for the first three games of the season. The sophomore had a rough trip to Florida, making just two of 18 shots from the floor across two games.
Her performance doesn’t concern Curry, however, who expects her to improve as she gets more time to practice and shake off some of the rust.
“I’m excited for her to have a week of practice,” Curry said. “I’ve thought the past two days she’s been unbelievable. You can start to see her come into her old self.”
Also battling nagging injuries this season are seniors Coco Knight and Quanetria Bolton, who both practiced this week and should be available.
Next for Alabama is another road test at TCU in the 2017 Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Horned Frogs are the Crimson Tide’s final power-five non-conference opponent.
“We have to forget easy,” Cook said. “Just move on and correct things. I feel like we have corrected a lot of things and it’s going to be a special year for us.”
Alabama at TCU
When: Noon, Friday, Dec. 1
Where: Ed & Rae Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth, Texas
Records: Alabama (4-2), TCU (5-1)
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: 93.9 FM