Women's basketball struggles in SEC playBy Matthew Speakman | 02/16/2016 7:36pm
The Southeastern conference is not an easy league to achieve in. In women’s basketball, the conference usually boasts multiple tournament teams as well as ranked teams. Alabama has been charged with the task of growing up in this competitive league.
This season, Alabama has been struggling to win in its conference. After starting out 11-2 in non-conference play, the team has gone just 3-9 in the SEC, losing six of its last seven games. In its undefeated streak, the Crimson Tide scored over 60 points in 12 of its 13 games. In those games, Alabama ended up winning 11 of the 12, with the lone loss coming from UT Martin.
In SEC play, Alabama has only managed to reach the 60-point mark three times. For those three games, it finished 2-1. In its nine losses, the team only made it to the 60-point mark once, falling 80-72 to the Florida Gators.
Obviously scoring is the most important thing in the Crimson Tide’s losses, but Alabama has had many other factors contributing to its inability to win in the SEC. In its 12 conference games, Alabama has turned the ball over to its opponent 15 or more times in every game, but two.
Turnovers in SEC games have allowed opponents to pick up easy baskets against the Crimson Tide. The inability to assist on baskets - finding an open player - has also hurt Alabama. It has only finished with over 10 assists in two of its 12 SEC games.
Youth could also be a key factor in Alabama’s SEC struggles. Many teams have relied on experience to will them to close wins in league play, but with nine freshmen and sophomores, Alabama is missing that strong experience. In the five major statistical categories (points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals), Alabama has an underclassman leading in four of them, with the exception being senior Nikki Hegstetter leading in rebounds at 6.3 per game.
In terms of scoring, Alabama’s top four leading scorers are all sophomores, leading the way is Hannah Cook at 12.3 points per game.
For Alabama, scoring efficiency, turnovers and assists could be the key to turn its SEC fortunes around, regardless of its youth.