Alabama women’s basketball takes the court for the first time this season on Sunday for a scrimmage game against Faulkner University, but for the first time in four years the starting lineup won’t contain members of head coach Kristy Curry’s first recruiting class.
Last year’s senior class finished with a combined 284 starts and had two of the best scorers in program history in Hannah Cook and Ashley Williams.
Curry has heard about the loss, and she’s tired of hearing about it.
“At the end of the day, that’s what college basketball is all about,” Curry said. “It’s somebody else’s turn. When your number is called, be ready.”
The Crimson Tide isn’t starting from scratch however. It returns senior Shaquera Wade and juniors Jasmine Walker, Jordan Lewis and Ashley Knight.
Lewis is the team’s returning scorer, as she averaged 9.7 points a game last year. She also led the team in assists with 3.7 a game, which was two more than anyone else on the team.
Wade consistently made an impact while she was on the floor, averaging 4.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.4 steals and 6.6 points last season.
Curry added eight players to this year’s squad, transfers juniors Cierra Johnson and Shelby Gibson and six freshmen.
Johnson, who committed to Alabama in 2015 but was forced to play at Shelton State for two years because of academics, was the 2018 JUCO player of the year.
“I had an extra push, extra motivation, to finally get here,” Johnson said. “When I finally got here, it was kind of surreal to me. Actually putting on a practice jersey, practicing with them, being in the facility, being next to coach… so it feels great to be here.”
Gibson played last season at Ole Miss. Last season, she made 19 starts and averaged 6.7 points and 3.7 rebounds.
All six freshmen played for a state championship. Five won at least one.
“They’ve played at a really high level on really good teams in the summer,” Curry said. “I feel like they’re prepared for this. What they’re having to learn is the pace and the sense of urgency and not to take a play off… I love the progress they’ve made.”
One freshman who will likely make an impact is Megan Abrams. The 5-foot-9 guard was a two-time state champion, was a 2018 McDonald’s All-American nominee and an Adidas All-American in 2016 and 2017.
The scrimmage starts at 3 p.m.
“We felt like with this team and the makeup that the best thing was to be in a real game environment,” Curry said. “We’re excited about Sunday… Even though we love each other, I think we’re a little tired of seeing each other’s faces.”