Alabama women's basketball vs. Baylor in NCAA Tournament 2023: March Madness prediction

Maxwell Donaldson
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama women's basketball will play Baylor in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Storrs, Connecticut, on Saturday.

A time or TV channel for the game has not been announced.

It is the second March Madness appearance for the Crimson Tide (20-10) in the last three years, last appearing in 2021 and earning a first-round win, both their first since 1999. On the other hand, Baylor has made 19 straight tournaments.

Alabama is entering the game on a four-game losing streak, including a 71-58 loss in the SEC Tournament to Kentucky.

Here's what to know about the upcoming matchup:

Baylor's defense could slow the Tide

The Baylor defense allows 62.7 points a game. They hold opponents to a 38.6 field goal percentage and the No. 41 ranked 3-point defense at 28.6%. Opponents have averaged 17.2 turnovers a game, something that could impact an Alabama squad that has struggled with turnovers at times this season.

That could create problems for Alabama, which likes to create 3-point opportunities for guards Hannah Barber and Aaliyah Nye, who ranks No. 7 in 3-point percentage.

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Rebounding battle could be key to victory

Alabama is 13-2 this year when outrebounding opponents, including the loss in the SEC Tournament. Baylor averages 39.5 rebounds a game while Alabama averages 35.6. Both teams rely on its guards to assist in the rebounding battle.

Alabama is led by guard Brittany Davis (7.1) while Baylor is led by combo Dariannaa Littlepage-Buggs (9.4).

X-factors could decide the game

Both teams feature first-team all-conference guards, Baylor's Sarah Andrews and Alabama's Brittany Davis. Andrews leads the Bears with 15 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists a game. Davis leads Alabama with 17.3 points and 7.1 rebounds a game.

Alabama's Sarah Ashlee Barker has taken on the role of the top defender for Alabama so it's unlikely the two will be playing head-to-head.

Score prediction

Baylor 65, Alabama 60: This will be a low-scoring affair with two defenses that have slowed opponents down all year. The Crimson Tide have been trending the wrong way and will continue with an early exit in March