Moments after the Crimson Tide’s historic win at Tennessee on Thursday night, Alabama women’s basketball coach Kristy Curry promised her team the celebration would end one minute after midnight. She didn’t want to risk falling behind in the team’s preparation for Auburn on Sunday.
“We have to take care of business this weekend,” Curry said Thursday. “That’s what we have to do, is be more consistent. To do this tonight, it’s not going to have the meaning if we can’t back that up.”
Auburn at Alabama
When: 4:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Coleman Coliseum
Records: Auburn 13-12, 4-9 SEC, Alabama 16-10, 6-7 SEC
TV: SEC Network
Radio: 93.3 FM
The last time out against Auburn the Crimson Tide was attempting to bounce back from a blowout loss at Kentucky. This time, Alabama is coming off its first win against a ranked opponent since 2014.
The two scenarios are drastically different, but the necessity of a win remains the same. If Alabama wants to make the NCAA Tournament, it needs to finish strong in the final three games of the regular season. Of the contests remaining, Sunday’s home matchup with Auburn is the only one UA seems to be the clear favorite.
However — as the Crimson Tide and the rest of the SEC know too well — anticipated success does not always translate. In fact, the Tigers already have a win against the Crimson Tide this season, taking down UA 69-60 at home in late January. At the time it was Auburn’s second win in the conference.
That was then. Both the Crimson Tide and Tigers have made strides in the right direction since the Jan. 28 contest. In its last four games Alabama is 2-2, including the road win against No. 11 Tennessee, and a close loss to No. 8 South Carolina.
“(We are) playing our best basketball at the right time of the year, and that’s important,” Curry said.
It’s no secret that sophomore Jordan Lewis has been Alabama’s biggest offensive threat since conference play began, but the Crimson Tide is at its best when it gets scoring from multiple areas. In its last two games against Tennessee and Ole Miss, Alabama had at least four players score in double digits.
“Our kids are doing what they are supposed to be doing when they are supposed to do it, the way it is supposed to be done,” Curry said. “That is taking things play-after-play, and getting balanced scoring.”
Alabama sits at eighth in the SEC standings, two spots in front of Auburn. It is unlikely the Crimson Tide can improve its seeding before the conference tournament because UA trails seventh-place LSU by three games with as many remaining.
Auburn is also 2-2 in its last four games, with both wins coming at home over LSU and Vanderbilt. Junior guard Janiah McKay leads the Tigers in scoring with 16.4 points per game.