By (Molly Catherine Walsh)

Ask any member of the Alabama women’s basketball team and they will all say the same thing. They want to win the SEC championship. A victory of that scale would make all of the tough practices, long bus rides, and late nights studying after games more than than worth it.

This week the Alabama Crimson Tide women’s basketball team (5-11 SEC) traveled to Greenville, South Carolina to take on the Vanderbilt University Commodores (4-12 SEC) for the first round of the SEC tournament.

Last year, the Crimson Tide did not make it through the first round of the tournament when it fell to LSU. Alabama last faced Vanderbilt in the tournament in 2015 when the Commodores came away with a win.

“We went back to work this week in practice,” Alabama head coach Kristy Curry said. “We practiced this morning at an off sight location and we only had 45 minutes in the arena to shoot the ball in preparation. We have to be tough on rebounding Wednesday and that will be what’s important.”

This year Alabama is the 12th seed, just as it was last year. The seed might be the same, but the team has a few new tricks up its sleeve in hopes of progressing to the second round of the tournament.

Five-time SEC Freshman of the Week, Jordan Lewis is now on the team, and she has been a leader and top scorer all season as she contributes an average of 10 points per game. Junior Hannah Cook has been a consistent threat offensively from behind the three point line.

Cook is 22 points away from reaching the 1,000 point club milestone while Ashley Williams is 25 points away. Players like Ashley Knight and Nene Bolton are aggressive on defense, especially on blocking.

Knight is a 6-foot-five freshman who recently tied Yolanda Watkins’ single-season block record of 68. That record has been standing for 23 years, and now Knight leads the SEC in overall blocks.

The SEC league office announced on Tuesday that both Knight and Lewis have earned spots on the SEC All-Freshman Team. This is the first time in program history that Alabama has had multiple selections on the conference’s All-Freshman Team.

“Ashley knight has proven that she’s the best center in the league and Jordan Lewis has shouldered a great deal of responsibility this year and it’s an incredible honor,” Curry said.

Vanderbilt’s top scorer is junior Rachel Bell who averages 10.6 points per game. Also headlining the team is Marq’ues Webb who averages nine rebounds per game. The team leads the SEC in three-point field goal percentage at 39.1 percent- which may be a key to getting a win over the Crimson Tide on Wednesday.

Alabama will play Vanderbilt at 10 a.m. in the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports