By (Matt Speakman)

Response to a tough loss can dictate a college basketball team’s season. Most teams do not go undefeated, so the way a team plays in its next game after a loss can determine whether or not it reaches its goals for that year.

For Alabama, the upcoming challenge is not exactly easy – going against the tough Vanderbilt team five days after losing a close game on the road against No. 22-ranked Florida. How the team responds to the close loss could determine how successful they end up being.

“You prepare and you prepare to win,” said coach Kristy Curry. “Our preparation has not adjusted because of our road travel. It is just part of it. It’s a chance for our team to continue to get stronger, continue to grow and continue to learn.”

Alabama heads into this game with a 13-6 record overall and a 2-4 record in conference play. Vanderbilt currently sits at 13-5 overall, winning two of its first five conference match ups.

The key to most of Alabama’s wins this season has been balance. When the team wins, it is usually because multiple players step up and share the load. Alabama, this season, is 11-1 when three or more players manage to reach double figures.Sophomore Hannah Cook has been consistently in double figures for most of the year, having a team-high 14 double-figure outings this season.

“They are a very seasoned team,” Curry said. “They are very mature. We go back and watch our game against them and showed our players some areas we need to adjust and 
improve on.”

The one loss came in a hard-fought game in Gainesville, Florida, against the Gators. Alabama also gets a lot of help from the young players on the squad. Freshmen and sophomores lead the way for the Crimson Tide, scoring 75.1 percent of the team’s overall points through its first 19 games. The young players also account for 60.4 percent of rebounds and 69.0 percent of assists this season.

“It is about coming out and being aggressive,” Curry said. “We need to be in attack mode and play at our pace.”

Vanderbilt hosts Alabama for the 19th time in Nashville, Tennessee, making it the 45th meeting overall between these two teams. Vanderbilt currently holds a 32-12 advantage in the series even though Alabama won the last meeting in Memorial Gymnasium, picking up a 66-62 victory in its first-ever win in Nashville, but the most recent meeting in Tuscaloosa went in favor of the Commodores earlier this season.

Vanderbilt heads into this game scoring 65.3 points per game, and holding opponents 51.4 points per game. Vanderbilt out-rebounds teams by 8 boards a game, and is currently 9-1 at home this season.

The game between Alabama and Vanderbilt will tip off at 6 p.m. on the SEC Network.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports