Alabama prepares for Texas A&MBy Matt Speakman | 01/28/2016 12:34pm
The women's basketball team takes on Texas A&M on Thursday, Jan. 27 in Foster Auditorium. CW | Marie Walker
Upsets in basketball generally happen on the underdog’s home court. The pressure of the fans and excitement of the players can turn a simple game into an experience. Getting the crowd into the game early and often can intimidate any opponent.
Once that first basket goes in for the home crowd, the team can gain enough confidence to establish itself as a threat and as an opponent that can knock off one of the countries best.
For college basketball, the home-court advantage is so important, because of the intimate setting that an arena can create. Fans are basically right on the court, cheering their team to win. Players have the noise directly in their face as they attempt to knock of their opponent.
“Being on your home court is always an advantage,” said sophomore Hannah Cook. “We have been very successful on our home court this season.”
Alabama has a chance to pull off an upset in front of its home fans on Jan. 27 when the No. 10/12-ranked Texas A&M Aggies travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the Crimson Tide. The home fan turnout was record-setting in Alabama’s last matchup at home against Georgia (3,732 fans came out).
“We are just excited to be home,” said head coach Kristy Curry. “The road has been difficult and we need to come home and defend our court.”
For the Alabama Crimson Tide, Foster Auditorium is where it thrives. The team, which is 11-1 at home this season, manages to come out with confidence and passion each time it plays on its home court. In the 12 games this year at home, Alabama has lead going into halftime in all 12 of those games.
Alabama has been on a two-game road trip in the last week and has not played on its home court in 11 days. Alabama’s players are excited to get back to defending their historic arena, due to their success that they have had in the past at Foster. Sophomore Karyla Middlebrook is looking forward to having the home fans behind her and the team in this matchup.
“We have great crowds and great fan support,” Middlebrook said. “Just being at Foster and having a sense of calmness and just knowing you have the crowd on your side and everything.”
An upset for Alabama is not going to be easy, as Texas A&M is among the country’s best women’s basketball teams. The Aggies are lead by Gary Blair, who has taken Texas A&M to 10 NCAA Sweet 16 appearances and won the 2011 NCAA Championship. Despite its success this season, the Aggies are below .500 on the road, winning two of their five match ups.
Alabama will look to upset its first ranked team all season when Texas A&M comes into town. Tipoff for the matchup is 6 pm CT.