After a resounding win over Mount St. Mary’s in the Round of 64, the Terps have their sights set on No. 7-seeded Alabama, which is coming off an 80-71 win over North Carolina. The Terps flexed their nation-leading scoring offense, dropping 98 points on a defenseless Mountaineers team that couldn’t even reach the half-century mark themselves. While the Crimson Tide defense has often left the team vulnerable within its own conference, its offense — averaging 75.0 points — is much more capable of keeping up with the Terps than Mount St. Mary’s. To learn more about the challenge that Alabama brings to Maryland, we got in touch with Alexander Plant of the Crimson White.
Our conversation has been lightly edited for clarity.
Alabama has struggled mightily against ranked teams throughout the season, owning a 1-8 record against squads featured in the AP Top 25 with their only win coming over two months ago against Mississippi State. What has held the Crimson Tide back the most when facing the big dogs?
The depth gap is a little too wide. The big three for Alabama have been a strong constant throughout the season on both sides of the ball. What Alabama lacks is depth. You noticed that in the round of 64, Alabama’s starting five scored 78 of the 80 points. That type of dependency on three to four players eventually has its limits.
Jasmine Walker, Jordan Lewis, and Ariyah Copeland have been the main driving forces of the Crimson Tide offense, averaging 19.0, 17.4, and 14.8 points per game this season, respectively. Are there any “dark horse” candidates on this Alabama squad besides those two who could have a big offensive performance?
Megan Abrams could have that type of dark horse impact. Although she’s one of the starting five, most fans and commentators talk about the big three (Walker, Lewis and Copeland). Abrams has the ability to fill the stat sheet, specifically crashing the glass. Her game versus Missouri is the best example of her potential. She finished with 19 points on 57 percent shooting, grabbing five assists and four rebounds.
The Crimson Tide somewhat stumbled to the finish line of the regular season, losing seven of its last 11 games. What was key to the team’s success in shrugging off that stretch as it defeated the Tar Heels Monday?
All-around team play has been the team’s key to success. Jordan Lewis dropped 32 points but three other players on the team scored in double figures. Passing the ball around to share the wealth is also important to make sure that defenses can’t lock in on one or two players.
Alabama’s last game against North Carolina marked the women’s program’s first appearance in the big dance since 1999. What has been the most impressive part of this team that has gotten them to this point?
Their determination is by far the most impressive attribute I would give to this team. Even amongst all of the drama surrounding what it is like in the NCAAW Tournament bubble, the entire team is locked into playing for each other. They are not allowing any distractions into their game-planning time. This is by far the best Alabama team so far this season.