Tide women's hoops has rebounded from low point against AU
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Feb 25, 2014 | 1410 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama guard Shafontaye Myers called the Crimson Tide’s first matchup with Auburn the low point of the season.

The Tigers steamrolled the Tide six weeks ago in Foster Auditorium 61-39, Alabama’s lowest point total of the year.

“It hurt us,” Myers said. “We made up our mind that we didn’t want to lose like that again. It’s all pride and heart. We came out and refocused.”

Myers said that since then the team has bought into what the coaches were preaching. That focus has led to some impressive wins.

In late January, Alabama defeated then No. 8 Kentucky on the road its first road win against a top-10 team since 1998. It also snapped a losing streak in Lexington that dated back to 2002. For perspective, the Wildcats drilled the Tide in Tuscaloosa to open SEC play 85-63.

The Tide snapped a 23-game losing streak against Georgia. And this past weekend, Alabama won at Vanderbilt for the first time.

“If you go back to that Auburn game, I thought we played a very poor game all around,” said Shereka Wright, assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. “From that game to this point now, the kids are definitely understanding their roles. They’re playing harder, competing. … We’ve all been on the same page and the communication between the coaching staff and the players has been great, and I think that’s been huge for us down the stretch.”

Myers, the Tide’s lone senior, said watching the team’s progress has been fun.

“It’s been good to be a part of a group that’s willing and wants to grow as a family,” she said. “We’ve just come together, and we’re basically like sisters. We look up to each other. We depend and rely on each other. It’s been great.”

For the season, Alabama is 13-14 overall and 6-8 in SEC play. Those six conference wins are more than the team had in the past two years combined (four). They’re also the most SEC wins since the 2002 season when the Tide won seven and went on to the quarterfinals of the NIT under coach Rick Moody.

A strong finish to this season could also mean postseason play for the first time since 2011. Wright said the coaching staff hasn’t shied away from addressing the possibilities of reaching a postseason tournament beyond the SEC tournament.

Still, it’s a one-game mentality for the Tide as a rematch at Auburn looms Thursday.

“We’re not tight, we’re not playing as if we have something to worry about,” Wright said. “We just want to play loose. We want our kids to have fun and they’ve been doing that. They’ve been playing with emotion and they’ve enjoyed playing with each other. That’s the biggest thing we can ask of this team right now is to continue to build and not be content.

“It’s very easy for a team to be content with where we are right now, but we want to continue to get wins and take it one game at a time. Right now our focus is Auburn.”
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