The Alabama women’s basketball team didn’t get invited to the Big Dance, so it’s just going to stay home and play.
The Crimson Tide was fighting for an NCAA Tournament berth in mid-February with victories over Ole Miss, Tennessee and Auburn, but was derailed by overtime losses to Georgia and LSU to close out the regular season.
Alabama received a bid to the Women’s NIT and will host Southern University on Wednesday. It will be UA’s first game since falling to Kentucky on March 1 in the SEC Tournament.
“I’m excited for the opportunity for postseason,” coach Kristy Curry said. “That’s something as a competitor that you always want that opportunity for. … We’re excited for a quick turnaround because we’ve been busy back at work from the SEC Tournament, so practice and practice and the chance to play is always important.”
The layoff presents a challenge, but Curry said practices have been productive.
“We were on a wait-and-see mode,” she said. “We’re concerned but we knew we’d have the opportunity for postseason and they’ve just gone back to work and that’s what this group always has done. I haven’t had to plead for energy, and I think it says a lot about our six seniors.”
Alabama didn’t get the WNIT bid until Monday night. Senior forward NeNe Bolton immediately went to work studying Southern.
“I looked at their roster when I found out who we were playing,” she said. “I just know that they’ve played some Power 5 schools and they’ve played them close, so we won’t take this as an easy game. We’ll approach this like every other game.”
Said Curry, “She’s going to go into coaching, so she always does her homework ahead of us.”
Southern won the Southwestern Athletic Conference regular-season title but lost in the league tournament.
“It’s going to be an opportunity for us to play another really good team,” Curry said. “When you look at the NIT and the field this year, it seems like every year it’s really competitive and a lot deeper and there’s a lot more parity.”
Bolton looks forward to extending her career.
“Having that feeling when you step on the court at Coleman, it means a lot,” she said.
Reach Tommy Deas at email@example.com or at 205-722-0224.