Alabama Women’s Basketball team falls in Austin, concludes successful season

Tennessee v Alabama
Tennessee v Alabama / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

The women’s basketball team at the University of Alabama enjoyed one of its best seasons in recent memory in 2023-24. 

That season ended on Sunday night in Austin, Texas, as the Crimson Tide fell to the top-seeded Texas Longhorns by a score of 65-54 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

Alabama had three double-figure scorers, led by senior leader Sarah Ashlee Barker’s 17 points. It also got 14 points and 12 points respectively from fellow seniors Aaliyah Nye and Loyal McQueen.

Outside of these performances from the veterans, the rest of the team contributed just 11 total points. In the end, this wasn’t enough to overcome the Longhorns’ vaunted attack. 

For the season, Bama went 24-10 and finished 10-6 in league play. Its conference record was good enough to earn it the no. 4 seed and a double-bye in the SEC Tournament. The Tide was eventually rewarded with an 8-seed in the NCAA Tournament, taking down Florida State before falling to Texas in the Round of 32. Alabama's 24 wins was its best mark since it posted an identical record in 1997-98.

This Bama team was primarily led by its senior class, which included Sarah Ashlee Barker (team-high 16.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG), Aaliyah Nye (14.1 PPG, team-high 41.7% from the three-point line), and Loyal McQueen (9.8 PPG, team-high 3.0 APG).

Barker also shot a team-high 49% from the field and averaged a team-high 1.9 steals per game en route to being named first-team All-SEC. Nye was honored with a second-team all-league selection. 

Heading into 2024-25, Coach Kristy Curry expects to have a pair of standouts back in the fold in rising senior Jessica Timmons and rising sophomore Essence Cody.

As a junior this year, Timmons was a stat-stuffer who finished third on the team in points (11.2), rebounds (4.5), and assists (2.3), and finished fourth in steals (1.0).

At center, Essence Cody enjoyed a very promising freshman season and showed flashes of dominance in the paint. She started every game for the Tide, averaging 8.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game. For her efforts, she was named to the SEC’s All-Freshman team. 

With the transfer portal in full effect, it’s almost impossible to predict what next season’s roster will look like, but Coach Curry appears to have the program headed in the right direction with three NCAA Tournament bids in the last four seasons following a drought of 20+ years.