How Alabama women’s basketball’s Jasmine Walker is making her case for SEC player of the year

James Fletcher
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama (15-6, 8-6 SEC) is set to take on No. 3 Texas A&M (20-1, 11-1) on Thursday (6 p.m. CT) in Coleman Coliseum.

It is another opportunity for senior forward Jasmine Walker to make her case for SEC player of the year.

Here are three things to know about Alabama’s high-scoring star:

2/4/21 WBB Alabama vs Georgia
Alabama Forward Jasmine Walker (40)
Photo by Rodger Champion

A player-of-the-year moment

Walker has the one thing that every award winner in sports needs: a moment.

Her program-record 41 points against Auburn put her on the national stage.

In that game, Walker showed a little bit of everything. She slashed to the basket for easy layups, knocked down 7 of 13 3-pointers and grabbed 15 rebounds.

“You can’t guard her in transition, and you can’t guard her on the offensive glass,” said Alabama coach Kristy Curry.

Scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter to seal a win over a rival on the road took Walker from a candidate for the All-SEC team to a real contender for the player of the year award.

Getting Alabama to its first NCAA Tournament since 1999 would give Walker another talking point on her résumé.

“We’re doing something that nobody has done in a long time,” said Walker. “I feel like we’re ready for it.”

Alabama forward Jasmine Walker (40) shoots a three against Auburn Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in Coleman Coliseum. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Sustained dominance

Walker is averaging 20.8 points and 9.9 rebounds.

She has scored in double figures every game and has 11 double-doubles.

“Once you see success, you just keep doing the same things that help you get that success,” said Walker.

Her ability to produce on a nightly basis and give her team any output needed to win has put this Alabama team over the top.

Walker ranks among the SEC leaders in every 3-point category and has shot 42.2 percent on 161 attempts so far.

“You know I’m always working on my shot,” said Walker. “All the time.”

Alabama guard Jordan Lewis (3) and Alabama forward Jasmine Walker (40) combine to trap Auburn guard Sania Well (2) on a full-court press Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in Coleman Coliseum. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

The intangibles

Walker’s game is fun to watch. It's not just because her shot seems to always fall or the number of rebounds she grabs; It is her positioning and the ability to make every movement look easy.

“There’s never a day that she takes off,” said Curry. “She’s bought into so many areas.”

When Walker turns after making a catch and enters her shooting motion, there is an assumption that the ball will go in. The perfect form, the rotation of the ball and the high arc of the shot all point to one result.

“When I do score, it’s just natural,” said Walker.

On defense, Walker seems to find her way to the spot on every play. Her rebounding numbers show that even without being the biggest or strongest player on the court, she can outsmart her opponents with positioning and quickness.