Alabama vs. No. 14 Kentucky
When: 7 p.m., Thursday
Where: Coleman Coliseum
Records: Alabama 10-5, 0-2 SEC; Kentucky 12-2, 1-1 SEC
TV: SEC Network+
Radio: 1230 AM, 100.1 FM
There was a lot to learn from Sunday’s loss to No. 4 South Carolina.
The University of Alabama women’s basketball team will try and take those lessons into Thursday’s game with No. 14 Kentucky at Coleman Coliseum.
But learning how to guard 6-foot-2 guard Rhyne Howard, who averages 26 points per game? That’s another matter.
“We can’t give her 37 points and 27 shots like she had against Tennessee,” Alabama coach Kristy Curry said of Kentucky’s top player. “We know (Kentucky) is more than Rhyne Howard, but certainly she is one of, if not the best player in the country. We certainly have our hands full.”
Alabama got off to a slow start against South Carolina in last week’s 93-78 loss, getting outscored in the paint and getting burned with fast-break points. The Crimson Tide got some big baskets from Jordan Lewis, De’Sha Benjamin and Jasmine Walker but couldn’t keep the Gamecocks off the boards or out of the paint.
The good news for Alabama (10-5, 0-2 SEC) is Kentucky didn’t fare much better against South Carolina, losing 93-78.
“We played two really good teams (in the SEC) and we have to learn from our mistakes and realize there is a very small margin for error,” Curry said. “We are excited about the opportunity Thursday night gives us. It’s another top 15 team and with one of the best players in the country. We are excited about the challenge.”
Lewis has been the go-to player for Alabama through 15 games. The junior averages 32 minutes and 13 points per game and is second on the team with 24 3-pointers. She could have been the difference-maker for Alabama last season, which was cut short by a broken wrist in December. She has done everything she can to try and make up for that loss of playing time.
“Anytime you have great point guard play, and a leader and character at the point guard position that we have, it makes you a whole lot better,” Curry said. “We love our point guard in Jordan Lewis and love what she is trying to do for our team every day on and off the floor.”
Reach Edwin Stanton at 205-722-0226 or email@example.com or via Twitter, @edwinstantonu2