Women’s basketball overcomes adversity in win against Ole Miss

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

The Alabama women’s basketball team emerged from its bye week with a difficult test on its hands. Sunday’s road game against Ole Miss would be contested without Brittany Davis and Megan Abrams, both of whom were injured while playing against Auburn on Jan. 8. Furthermore, Ole Miss was a perfect 5-0 in conference play and had won nine games in a row.  

Nine would not become 10. The Crimson Tide got the job done in Oxford, Mississippi, 63-58, for a statement win that brought Alabama’s league record back above .500. 

Alabama (14-4, 3-2 SEC) saw its players step up when needed, even in the absence of the squad’s top two scorers, and that led to a second straight triumph on the road. Loyal McQueen, replacing Davis in the starting five, had 14 points and three rebounds. Sarah Ashlee Barker had another game in double figures, leading the Crimson Tide with 16. Jada Rice had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. 

“Special win today, when we were faced with adversity,” Alabama head coach Kristy Curry said. “Amazing toughness. That was the difference in the game, was just the toughness of getting stops, critical boards, and being able to make a few three throws. Big plays all night long… Huge resume win for us on the road without our two leading scorers.” 

Ole Miss (16-3, 5-1 SEC) initially seemed ready to vault to a sizable advantage. After stymying Alabama’s shorthanded offense in the first quarter, the home team extended its lead to 11 early in the second. The Crimson Tide rallied with a run to tie things up, and went into the break down 27-25. 

In the third quarter, Ole Miss drilled a triple to open the action, which gave way to an 11-0 run by Alabama to take the lead. The Crimson Tide outscored Ole Miss 15-8 in the third quarter and entered the final frame up by five. Ole Miss fought it down to one possession late, but Alabama drained its last five free throws in a row to seal the deal. Aaliyah Nye hit a clutch three with under 90 seconds to go and immediately followed it with a layup that tanked Ole Miss’s hopes of a 10th consecutive victory. 

“She was due,” Curry said. 

Curry was complimentary of the leadership shown by Barker, whose offense was a major boost for a unit needing points with key players sidelined. 

“S.A. just made play after play,” Curry said. “She just had an edge about her the entire night, infusing them with ‘We’re gonna win,’ ‘Come on, y’all.’ Amazing leadership from S.A. A lot of vocal leadership today.” 

Alabama shot 36% from the field, outshooting Ole Miss’s 33%. The two teams hit the same number of shots from beyond the arc, five apiece. Alabama had 20 free throws made in 28 tries. Ole Miss only had 11 points from the charity stripe in the game. 

The Crimson Tide’s next game will be back at home in Coleman Coliseum, and the Texas A&M Aggies will arrive seeking their first SEC win. That matchup is set for Jan. 19 and tipoff will be at 6 p.m. CT. 

Questions or comments? Email Blake Byler (Sports Editor) at [email protected]