- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Kristy Curry wants Alabama to reach the point where back-to-back Southeastern Conference wins is no big deal.

For now, it certainly is one. The Crimson Tide’s milestone victories over No. 9 Kentucky and Georgia last week represent the first time ‘Bama has beaten two SEC teams in a row since a three-game streak three years ago.

It’s a big step for a program that was 2-14 in the league each of the past two seasons before Curry’s hiring. The former Texas Tech and Purdue coach is trying to restore a culture of winning for a program that hasn’t been to an NCAA tournament since 1999.

“That’s what we’re about,” Curry said. “That’s all that I know and that we know as a staff. That’s a mentality that we’re working to bring every day, and that’s that we expect to win every day.

“If we can just win this day, tomorrow’s going to take care of itself. That’s been a culture that we’ve really been working to establish every day.”

Alabama (10-10, 3-4 SEC) faces a tough task in keeping the momentum going. The Tide visits Florida (14-6, 4-3) on Thursday and hosts No. 10 Tennessee (16-4, 5-2) three days later.

Alabama already has achieved two milestones with the recent wins, which came on the heels of blowout losses to South Carolina and Auburn.

The Tide beat Kentucky 57-55 even with leading scorer Shafontaye Myers held out for disciplinary reasons. Daisha Simmons hit the game-winning layup with 2.3 seconds left for the Tide’s first road win over a Top-10 team since 1998.

Then Alabama snapped a 23-game losing streak to Georgia with a 69-66 win after mounting a 19-4 run over the final eight minutes

“You have to have short-term memory in this league,” Curry said. “As coaches, there are two things we can control, and that’s our preparation and practices. We just continue to try and do all that we can to prepare them and control practices, and the kids have really responded. So as the season’s gone on, we’ve continued to get better. And that’s a credit to their energy and their effort.”

It hasn’t necessarily shown up with dramatic improvement on the stat sheets.

The Tide still ranks last in the SEC in scoring offense at 65.8 points per game.

Myers has raised her scoring average by five points a game, averaging 15.1 points while ranking second in the league in made 3-pointers.

Simmons is averaging 13.4 points and 4.6 assists while Ashley Williams was the league’s freshman of the week after the two wins.

The Tide has come a long way since opening the season with three losses, starting with a double-digit defeat to Chattanooga.

Curry said the team’s play has improved “night and day” since that inauspicious beginning.

“It’s not even easy to put into words,” she said. “Our leadership has gotten better. Our attention to detail has gotten better. That’s just two games. We want to do everything we can to be consistent. We can control our energy every day, be consistent with that, and hopefully good things will happen.

“The little things make the difference, and this team’s starting to understand that. Every possession in this league matters, and we’ve been fortunate to start to understand that better.”

Copyright © 2017 The Washington Times, LLC.

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