The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

June 18, 2013

Alabama, Auburn women's programs might be on rise

(Continued)

Auburn hasn't been back to the NCAA tournament since Nell Fortner's team won the Southeastern Conference title in 2009.

Both coaches' optimism about the near future is enhanced with a bounty of rising high school talent in the state, and that's where they hope to keep those players. Curry also hopes to use her Texas connections to mine that state for talent while Williams-Flournoy said she's still familiar with the high school coaches in Georgia from her days as an assistant with the Georgia Bulldogs.

"When you look at the state of Alabama just the talent in (2015) and '16 is phenomenal," Curry said. "And you look at your border states, you shouldn't have to go any further. But when you look at the enrollment here at the University of Alabama, besides in-state, Texas is the second-largest enrollment group from a state of the normal student population.

"The recruiting ground here and the opportunity to recruit talent to Alabama, obviously No. 1 is Alabama and the border states but obviously we're going to hit the state of Texas some."

Curry has already made an impact in recruiting. She signed junior college All-American post player Khadijah Carter and point guard Karyla Middlebrook to join the five newcomers already on their way.

She and Williams-Flournoy both rave about their program's potential despite what appear to be varying stages of rebuilding.

The programs were once among the nation's best. Ciampi led the Tigers to three straight national title games from 1988-90 and 16 NCAA appearances in 25 years before stepping down in 2004.

Rick Moody took the Tide to the NCAA tournament in half of his 16 seasons, including the 1994 Final Four and five consecutive trips to the regional semifinals. He left a year after Ciampi.

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