Alabama football: Spring football previews and March Madness for women’s basketball

Welcome to The Rammer Jammer, SEC Country’s daily Alabama athletics recap. Today, we look at women’s basketball’s deep WNIT run, recap gymnastics’ SEC finish and preview spring practice.

Alabama’s best shot at some March Madness continues as Kristy Curry’s women’s basketball team beat Arkansas-Little Rock to progress to the Sweet 16 of the women’s NIT. The result is the first time Alabama’s won back-to-back postseason games since 2011 and brings Alabama’s win total to the highest mark (21-13) since 1997-98, when the Crimson Tide made the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.

Most impressively, Alabama was down eight late in the third quarter before making an 8-0 run to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Then, with 5 seconds to play, freshman Jordan Lewis got her own rebound and scored to give Alabama the lead and the win.

Alabama will host Tulane, which knocked the Tide out of the NIT last season, at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday.

ICYMI

Sticking the landing

Everything played out more or less as it expected at the SEC gymnastics championships. LSU won, clearly the best team in the conference wire-to-wire. Florida came in second, comfortably, just slightly off the pace and still short of the kind of talent that LSU has in Ashleigh Gnat. And Alabama came in third, not threatened by anyone beneath it, but hamstrung by a 49.25 score on floor exercise that kept it from contending for a higher position. It’s exactly the result Alabama would have expected, given the season so far.

Individually, Alabama took home two SEC titles. Kiana Winston won the balance beam with a 9.95, while Katie Bailey won the uneven bars with the same score.

Next, Alabama will be the top seed at an NCAA regional as one of the six best teams in the nation. The regional selection show will air at 3 p.m. CT on NCAA.com on Monday. Alabama will most likely be matched up with Big Ten champion and No. 9 Michigan and 3 seed and No. 19 Southern Utah in its regional.

Built by Bama

Andre Smith’s second tenure at Cincinnati will be at right guard, not his original position of right tackle. Smith won’t be asked to slim down, reportedly, as the Bengals favor a large tandem on the right side of the line.

“Big Shot” Bob Horry will be honored in Houston, which is in Texas, which charges no state income tax. Horry was drafted by the Rockets and won two NBA championships in Houston.

Around the Capstone

The softball team’s quiet bats finally came back to bite it as Alabama lost 1-0 to Mississippi State, snapping a 20-game winning streak. In a battle of dominant pitching staffs, Alabama’s just barely fell short, made all the more bitter by the fact that the only run was unearned. Alabama responded by winning the Sunday game to clinch the series win.

The men’s tennis team beat LSU this weekend for its first conference win of the season and also beat Troy. Women’s tennis fared worse, losing to Texas A&M to remain winless in the SEC at 0-6.

The golf team is in 10th after the first day at the Linger Longer Invitational, thanks to Davis Riley’s 4-under 68, which places him in eighth, 2 strokes out of first. Alabama is 7 strokes out of the lead.

The track team won four events at the Bulldog Invitational, the first meet of the outdoor season.

For the swimming and diving team, junior Bailey Scott set several school records en route to an all-American performance.

Miss a previous edition? Find every installment of SEC Country’s daily Alabama newsletter right here.