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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 headed home after falling to Tennessee at SEC women’s basketball tournament

Courtesy of UA Athletics
Alabama Guard Sarah Ashlee Barker (3) shoots the ball at Bon Scours Wellness Arena in Greenville, SC on Friday, Mar 8, 2024.

After falling to Tennessee in an 83-61 semifinal, Alabama women’s basketball was eliminated from the SEC tournament Friday afternoon.  

A final road win over Texas A&M on March 3 gave Alabama a double bye to the SEC tournament. It left a three-way battle between Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee to decide whom the Crimson Tide would take on in the tournament semifinal.  

The Lady Volunteers beat Kentucky and geared up to take on Alabama which had defeated them 72-56 on Feb. 8. Tennessee forward Rickea Jackson thought that loss was a significant component in her team’s win on Friday.  

 “We did know that Alabama beat us in the regular season,” Jackson said. “We knew we had to beat them to advance.” 

The start of the game gave a sneak peek to the end as Tennessee ran away with a 6-0 scoring run. Guard Sarah Ashlee Barker broke the run with a 3-pointer to put the Crimson Tide on the board for the afternoon.  

Despite the Tennessee run, Alabama guards Aaliyah Nye and Loyal McQueen found 7 more points to tie the game at 10-10.  

Just when the Crimson Tide’s fate seemed to change, guard Jessica Timmons, one of the team’s highest-scoring players, got tangled with another player and injured her knee. She did not reappear for the rest of the game. 

Alabama was able to remain close, holding only a 5-point deficit to come out of the first quarter, but Alabama was rarely able to get a good shot in the second.  

Although Nye has the third-highest-scoring 3-point shot in the nation, she didn’t make a single bucket on four attempts. McQueen, Barker and guard Karly Weathers found the three 3-pointers made this game.  

Barker and McQueen held the game together, contributing 32 points; the rest of the team didn’t break double digits.  

The team’s field goal percentage fell to 39.7%, and its 3-pointer percentage dropped to 18.8%, the team’s second-worst game of the season for 3-pointers. 

Barker credits this collapse to Tennessee’s great game and her team’s failure to hold together when it needed to most.   

“It’s about understanding that Tennessee had a great game and understanding that we’re a great basketball team when we show up,” Barker said. “Today we did not, unfortunately.” 

The Crimson Tide fell to a 13-point deficit to end the first half, and it continued to widen going into the second.  

The third quarter started with a jumper from Jackson and a layup from Tennessee center Tamari Key.  

Despite five Alabama layups, it wasn’t enough to combat the 14-3 Tennessee scoring run.  

Scoring efforts from Weathers, Barker, McQueen and guard Del’Janae Williams brought the Lady Vols’ lead down to 21 points in the tail end of the fourth quarter. It wasn’t enough, though, and the team succumbed to a 22-point defeat to end its SEC tournament stint.  

Although the loss was bitter, head coach Kristy Curry wants to go out remembering the victories this season.  

“I want to say that I don’t want this to take away from what these kids have accomplished in the SEC regular season, the 23 wins. We’re excited,” Curry said.  

Because of those 23 wins, the team has set a record for most regular-season wins since the 1991-92 season. It is also only the third time in program history that the team has notched 10 SEC wins. 

The Crimson Tide’s season isn’t over yet. Tune into ESPN on Sunday at 7 p.m. CT to see where the NCAA tournament selection show will take Alabama. 

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