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 wheelchair basketball team dominates Arizona, advances to championship game 

CW/ Hayden Hutchison

Despite leading its conference, the Alabama women’s wheelchair basketball team faced one final challenge before securing its spot in the championship game. On Friday night, the team clashed with the Arizona Wildcats in a pivotal showdown to determine who would advance to the championship game scheduled for Saturday. The Alabama women’s team emerged victorious with a resounding 65-35 win over the Wildcats, solidifying its place in the championship game.  

“We’re going in with confidence, and we’re going in being humbled, but we also are remembering we have bragging rights to defend our national championship,” sophomore Ixhelt Gonzalez said.  

From the very first possession, Alabama asserted its authority on the court, with senior Mary Silberman securing an early 2-point score, setting the tone for what would be a commanding performance.  

Graduate student Joy Haizelden followed suit with a skillful layup, further extending Alabama’s lead. With an aggressive playing style and tenacious defense, Alabama kept Arizona on the back foot throughout the first half, maintaining control of the game. 

Throughout the first half of the game, Alabama stayed consistent and remained dominant by staying ahead of Arizona from start to finish. Only five minutes into the first period, Alabama led Arizona 14-2.  

Despite Arizona’s best efforts to rally, Alabama’s defensive prowess proved to be a formidable obstacle, and Gonzalez added to the Crimson Tide’s lead with a well-executed layup. Arizona’s attempts to regain momentum were derailed by Alabama’s solid defensive play, with turnovers and missed shots contributing to the Wildcats’ struggles.  

As the clock ticked down towards halftime, Alabama maintained a comfortable lead of 20-12.  

As the second period got underway, Alabama continued to assert its dominance on both ends of the court, with Gonzalez gaining another 2 points and senior Bailey Moody making an impressive 3-point shot to make the score 31-14.  

While Alabama’s defense remained resolute by blocking attempts and causing turnovers, Arizona found itself unable to make easy shots, adding only 5 points in the entirety of the second period. Despite Arizona’s efforts to mount a comeback, Alabama maintained its momentum, finishing the second period with a commanding lead of 39-15. 

One of the Alabama players highlighted the team’s progression. 

“We started in December,” Silberman said, pointing out the team’s undefeated record in the conference. “Despite being undefeated in our conference, you can definitely see the improvement.” 

Silberman attributed this progress to the team’s concerted effort in practice sessions, indicating a visible difference in the team’s performance over time. 

Halftime festivities provided a brief respite from the intense action on the court, with the crowd eagerly cheering on the Leeds jump rope team as the jump-ropers highlighted their skills.  

As the third period commenced, Alabama quickly resumed its dominance, with Haizelden and others adding to the Crimson Tide’s lead with a series of well-executed plays. The Wildcats struggled to gain traction, and their frustration was evident in their players arguing their fouls with the refs on the sidelines. 

As the game entered the final period, Alabama showed no signs of letting up, with Moody extending the team’s advantage with three back-to-back 2-point shots to put the score at 58-27.  

Despite a late surge from Arizona, including many points from senior Emilee Gustafson, Alabama remained firmly in control, and its strong defensive play and efficient scoring ensured victory.  

As the final buzzer sounded, Alabama emerged triumphant with a convincing 65-35 win, securing its place in the championship game and solidifying its status as one of the top teams in wheelchair basketball. 

“I feel great, and it feels awesome to compete for another national championship and to hopefully add another banner to the arena,” Silberman said.  

With its sights set on the championship game, Alabama will look to build on this performance and continue its quest for a win on the national stage.  

Alabama will play for the championship title Saturday against the University of Texas at Arlington at 2 p.m. CT.  

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