TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama wheelchair basketball teams will host their final regular season games Feb. 23-24 in the New College Life Track Collegiate Classic on the UA campus.
Each UA team will play three games against three different opponents in the program’s annual anchor event, which will be played in Stran-Hardin Arena, UA’s $10 million leading-edge multi-purpose facility for Adapted Athletics.
UA’s men’s team (20-3, 14-3) will play the University of Texas at Arlington at 5 p.m. Friday, the University of Illinois at 3 p.m. Saturday and Auburn University at 7 p.m. Saturday to cap the weekend slate.
UA’s women’s team (15-5, 7-2) will compete against UTA at 7 p.m. Friday, Illinois at 1 p.m. Saturday and ABC Medical at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Admission is free and open to the public.
“We’re looking forward to some really high-level competition with some teams we’ll be matched up against in nationals,” said Adam Kramer, UA women’s coach. “It gives us a chance to showcase all of the support Alabama has been given wheelchair basketball.”
UA’s men look to clinch the No. 1 seed in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association national tournament when it faces eight-time national champion UTA on Friday. UA has split a pair of games with UTA this season and is coming off a 72-62 loss to Wisconsin-Whitewater.
“UTA is really good in transition,” said Ford Burttram, UA men’s head coach. “They’re fast, they back-pick a lot and try to take a lot of things away from us. If we execute our game plan, take the ball out of their primary scorers’ hands and hold them under 55 points, we’ll win this game.”
Australian international Michael Auprince leads the team with 20.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. DQ Robinson is scoring 11.3 points per game and leads the team with 4.5 assists per game.
“The biggest difference on the court this season is that we’re scoring collectively across the board,” Burttram said. “Off the court, it’s our confidence level and our will to win.”
Friday’s nightcap will pit the No. 2-ranked UA women’s team against top-ranked UTA. UA lost its two previous games to UTA this season.
Kramer said a win over UTA will hinge on his team being patient on offense and playing to its strengths.
“Our team is fairly different in chemistry and makeup, compared to last year,” Kramer said. “We have some new contributors and players that own their role and impact the game in a number of ways.
“We’re excited to see who we think the top contender is and figure out what we are made of.”
Arinn Young leads the team with 25.5 points per game and also leads UA in assists and rebounds. Rosalie Lalonde is second with 10.2 points per game.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.