Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama women’s basketball pulls together senior night heroics in victory over Florida

CW/ Hannah Grace Mayfield
Alabama guard Jessica Timmons (#23) dribbles the ball against Florida on Feb. 29 in Coleman Coliseum.

Alabama women’s basketball rounded out its final home game in Coleman Coliseum in style with a 76-73 win over the Florida Gators as a senior night present to its departing seniors Thursday night. 

This game was meant to celebrate the seniors, all they’d accomplished, and the future they looked toward. But guard Sarah Ashlee Barker couldn’t help but look back.  

“Honestly, it was amazing,” Barker said. “I was making a joke with my parents before I walked out. And it was, ‘If you would have told me as a freshman that I would be walking out here my senior year at Alabama, I would have looked at you like I was crazy,’ because I was going to Georgia.” 

Fear not: All of Alabama’s starting seniors, Barker and guards Aaliyah Nye and Loyal McQueen, announced they would be returning next fall to take advantage of the extra year of eligibility afforded to them by COVID-19. 

These seniors, as well as center JeAnna Cunningham, who is not returning, showed out for a night dedicated to them, scoring 58 of the team’s 76 points.  

It wasn’t just the seniors who succeeded in Thursday’s matchup; guard Karly Weathers and forward Meg Newman, made waves coming into the game off the bench, scoring only 6 points but acting as significant defensive pawns to keep the Gators from scoring.  

“Meg made some big plays in the first half,” head coach Kristy Curry said, “getting her hands on some balls, keeping that ball alive.” 

The game started with a 0-4 scoring run from Florida guard Aliyah Matharu, who ended her game early in the fourth quarter after a technical foul that awarded the Crimson Tide two extra free-throw points.  

But that is where the Gators’ lead ended, until a late-stage comeback in the fourth quarter. The Crimson Tide was able to keep a steady lead on Florida, maintaining a 9-point advantage for most of the second and third quarters.  

With two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Florida had made a comeback and tied the game at 69-69 after a 12-2 scoring run.  

Barker brought Alabama back to a 1-point lead after a successful free throw, but the relief of being back in the lead quickly disappeared when Florida guard Alberte Rimdal made a jump shot to put Florida in the lead by 1.  

This fight put Nye and Barker into high gear; the duo scored two consecutive layups, giving Alabama a comfortable 3-point buffer. 

After two more free throws from each team, there were 12 seconds left on the clock and with that, the Crimson Tide made it out alive on its senior night. 

Despite the struggle that left the team scrambling for the points to win, the victory instilled confidence in the players as they left their home of Coleman Coliseum for the last time this season. 

“It wasn’t how we wanted the win to look, but we got the win, and it’s the thought that matters. It’s hard to win in the SEC,” Nye said. “I think it’s just going to motivate us and give us the confidence to go into this next game and also just win on the road.” 

The team will take on its final SEC rival at Texas A&M on Sunday at 2 p.m. CT. The matchup can be streamed on the SEC Network. 

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