Women’s basketball gets back on track with Arkansas win

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

In a game which featured clutch heroics, lead changes, foul trouble and everything in between, the Alabama women’s basketball team (16-5, 5-3 SEC) got a much-needed bounce back win over Arkansas. 

A late shot from graduate student guard Hannah Barber with eight seconds remaining sealed the deal in the 69-66 road victory. Thursday’s result marked the third consecutive time Alabama has gone on the road and come out on top. 

The Crimson Tide badly needed to shoot better than it did in Monday’s 89-51 loss to the Louisiana State University Tigers, and it did, shooting 50% from the field and 47% from long range. Against LSU, Alabama was limited to five triples in the game. In the first quarter against the Razorbacks, the Crimson Tide hit four. 

“Huge road win against a really great team,” Alabama head coach Kristy Curry said. “Our kids’ response to Monday night was incredible. Their preparation, their toughness, their character. All night long, we just sustained runs. … It just seemed like our backs were against the wall, and they just continued to fight and stay together.” 

Alabama led by seven after the prolific first quarter which featured the last five baskets in a row going the visitors’ way. In the second, Arkansas chipped away and hit a buzzer-beating layup to go into the break down six. That wasn’t the first time the Crimson Tide had watched one fall in the final second of a quarter this season.  

In the third quarter, Arkansas roared back into the game with a 7-0 run to snag the lead. The teams then traded the lead over the next several minutes, culminating in a Jada Rice trip to the charity stripe with half a minute remaining, which saw her make both shots. Those two makes gave the Crimson Tide a lead of just one going into the last 10 minutes of play. 

In the fourth frame, Alabama was up by five more than once, but couldn’t close the show either time. On the second such occasion, the Razorbacks’ Makayla Daniels hit a three to level things at 66 points each. 25 seconds later, Barber’s clutch three went up, fell and gave Alabama a lead it would not surrender. 

“We’ve talked about bouncing back, being resilient, and continuing to fight each possession,” Barber said. “There were even times throughout the course of the game tonight that they jumped out [and] we had to respond. And we did, and we stepped up to the challenge.” 

Arkansas had the ball last and appeared to have lost it after their last possession ended up in Barber’s hands. She traveled, but when the officials went to the monitor, there was no time left and the Crimson Tide had won. 

“You have to have short-term memory in this league, win or lose,” Curry said. “Let’s focus on what’s ahead. … [We’re] halfway through. We looked at the opportunity in front of us, we didn’t look back. We have a responsibility to take advantage of each and every opportunity. What we went through Monday night is over, and our response is what matters.” 

Brittany Davis led Alabama with 22 points. Jada Rice was the second Alabama player in double figures, scoring 12 and leading the team in rebounds with seven. The Crimson Tide finished the game with five players each having fouled four times.