WICHITA, KS. – The University of Alabama women’s wheelchair basketball team traveled to Wichita, Kansas on Thursday, January 14 to compete in the 7th annual ASCAA Wheelchair Basketball Bash.
The American Collegiate Society for Adapted Athletics sponsored the tournament with the goal of providing competitive athletic opportunities for disabled students at the college level through tournament style competitions, according to the ACSAA website. The Alabama women competed against teams from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, University of Illinois and University of Texas Arlington. The first game between the Alabama women and the University of Illinois ended in a tough 64-42 loss early in the day Friday.The loss to Illinois was especially meaningful after defeating them last year 58-52 for the 2015 National Championship, Alabama’s 4th national championship for women’s wheelchair basketball in the last seven years.
“Last year’s team was a very experienced group who had been playing together for several years. We are a young team and with each tournament and game we are paying better and learning from our mistakes,” said Coach Elisha Williams about the difference between last year’s team and this year’s team.
The Alabama women finished Friday strong with a 51-28 win over the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. The Alabama women made 24 of 60 shots and dominated on defensive rebounds. Although Alabama let up nine turnovers and five steals, the team pulled away with a big win over the Whitewater women. Saturday’s game against University of Texas Arlington ended in an overtime win for UTA. After leading most of the game, Alabama lost a four-point lead in the 4th quarter and overtime was forced. The final score was 63-69. The Alabama women’s wheelchair basketball team left the tournament with one win and two losses making their overall record 8-5 and their conference record 4-4.
“The scoreboard doesn’t tell the complete story of our weekend, but I can say we are still in the fight for the championship,” said senior Elissa “Mouse” Robinson.
The University of Alabama women’s wheelchair basketball team will continue to work towards their 5th national championship in their next tournament on January 29-30 in Auburn, Alabama. The women will play Wisconsin-Whitewater, Illinois and UTA again to prove their national championship titles are only beginning.
Amanda Perrucci – Alabama Wheelchair Basketball Beat Writer