By (James Ogletree)

Alabama women’s basketball will host the LSU Lady Tigers on Thursday night, hoping to continue the momentum from eight wins in its last nine games and back-to-back road conference wins.

On Jan. 4, the team scored the final 11 points in Gainesville to win by nine, beating Florida for the first time in seven years. Three days later, the team rallied from a five-point deficit to Arkansas by scoring 33 points in the fourth quarter, also ending a seven-year losing streak to the Razorbacks.

“I’m just proud of our toughness,” head coach Kristy Curry said. “Any time that you can get a road win in this league, it’s [because of] character, toughness, tenacity, and these kids have shown that. We enjoy that until midnight, and then the next day it’s preparing for our next opponent. LSU is all we’re thinking about right now.”

Nine different players scored against Florida, along with eight against Arkansas, which Curry cites as evidence of the team jelling and playing unselfishly as it enters its conference schedule. With so many players capable of putting the ball in the basket, she said, opposing defenses have their hands full.

“We’ve had returning players that have had to buy into less minutes because of our depth,” Curry said. “It’s quality over quantity. We’re stronger in numbers… Collectively, we can do an awful lot more than just one individual or two individuals.”

Senior forward Nene Bolton said defense and rebounding were two keys to the 2-0 start in conference road games. The Crimson Tide held each opponent to just over 33 percent from the field. Alabama also out-rebounded the Gators 44-35.

Ashley Williams, who is also a senior forward, said containing LSU’s top players, which the team struggled to do against Arkansas, will be the best way to ensure a third straight SEC victory.

Curry added that the Lady Tigers’ athleticism and length enable deflections and steals that make their zone defense one of the best in the country. She compared Alabama and LSU’s styles of play, saying both use defense to set up easy baskets for the offense.

In the grander scheme of the season, LSU, ranked 44th in ESPN’s Rating Percentage Index, is one of several SEC foes that will give the Crimson Tide a chance to boost its own RPI.

The team recognizes that the opportunity to climb the rankings must be taken seriously, but Curry preaches the importance of focusing all effort on the present.

“We understand you can’t get too high and you can’t get too low; you just have to hover in between,” Curry said. “Consistent energy and effort will lead us where we want to go. We’re not looking back and we’re not looking ahead. It’s just LSU right now, and if we can take care of today, everything else will fall into place.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports