Samford’s women’s basketball team had a lot to live up to in 2021, after winning both the Southern Conference regular season and tournament titles in 2020, firsts for the program. Head coach Carley Kuhns crafted a championship team in her first season, but as her second with the Bulldogs begins, we will have a better idea on what the future of the program looks like under her leadership.
The first few games for the women’s team did not show a great deal of success on paper, losing 6 or their first 7 games. The Bulldogs opened the season against in state SEC opponents Alabama and Auburn, losing to the Crimson Tide 68-83 and the Tigers 64-66 in a game the team feels they could have won. The next game saw the Dogs fall to 13th ranked powerhouse Indiana 26-71 before finally coming home to the Pete Hannah Center in Homewood for two games, a disappointing 67-75 loss to UT Martin and the first win of the season over instate rival UNA, 79-66. The Bulldogs then traveled to Kentucky to face the 9th ranked Wildcats, in a game that would end in a 54-88 loss. The moth recent loss came on December 16th in Jacksonville as the Gamecocks won in Samford’s last game before the Christmas break, 63-46.
Since returning the play on New Year’s Eve the Bulldogs have been on a roll, winning three straight home games. The last game played in 2020 would be a 76-51 win over the UAH Chargers. Senior Katie Allen from Albertville lead the scoring for the Bulldogs with a 20 point game and last year’s SoCon tournament Most Outstanding Player Natalie Armstrong had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
January 4th saw the Bulldogs face crosstown opponent Birmingham Southern in what would become a record setting day for Samford. The team would set SIX school records as well as one SoCon record in a 135-60 point blowout of the Panthers. The 135 points scored is both a school record and SoCon record. Other records set were team records for 69 points in a half, 41 points in a quarter, 53 field goals made, 29 assists, and a 75 point margin of victory. If that wasn’t enough, the team had a little cherry on top of having the highest score of any Samford team in the Pete, beating the men’s team who set the record just 14 days earlier with a 133-84 win over Belhaven.
The game was a great leaping platform into the Southern Conference play as the Bulldogs welcomed the Mercer Bears into Homewood on January 9th. The Bears were the preseason favorite to win the conference title, but the Bulldogs were ready for the challenge, winning decisively 78-69. Junior forward Annie Ramil from Binghamton New York lead the Bulldogs in scoring with a career high 28 points. After the game Ramil credited her coaches for preparing her and teammates and family for hyping her up. Despite the win Ramil made it clear the focus of the team is on improving the rest of the season quoting Kobe’s legendary line, “job’s not finished.” This point was echoed by coach Kuhns who told her team that the win places “a target on our back, a bigger target than we might not have already had. We’re going to get team’s best games, team’s are going to be prepared and excited to play against us.”
The future of both the Samford men’s and women’s teams is looking bright, as exciting basketball action is taking place in Homewood this year. Take some time to come out and support the Bulldogs as both teams are entering the heat of the SoCon schedule.