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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

Texas Longhorns trample women’s basketball’s hopes at NCAA tournament glory

Courtesy of UA Athletics
Alabama Guard Loyal McQueen (0) shoots a free throw at Moody Center in Austin, TX during the Second Round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament on Sunday, Mar 24, 2024.

Women’s basketball will head home to Tuscaloosa after falling 65-54 to the region’s No. 1 seed, the Texas Longhorns, in the second round of the NCAA tournament.  

With Texas standing as the region’s No. 1 seed, it had the opportunity to host its first few tournament games, and because of that, nearly 10,000 Longhorn fans came to the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, to support their team.  

Despite most of the crowd cheering against her, guard Sarah Ashlee Barker still enjoyed the spirit of her audience. 

“You want to play in atmospheres that are packed and rowdy, and everyone is cheering, and I like to play against crowds that are cheering against me sometimes,” Barker said. “It was a lot of fun. You had a lot of respect for the game of women’s basketball out there. … It just shows you that people love women’s basketball.” 

Barker only played 11 minutes and scored 6 points in the team’s game Friday against Florida State but broke out this game, leading the team with 17 points and six rebounds.  

Alabama started hopeful, keeping the score within a few points, but at some moments, the Crimson Tide needed only 2 to overcome Texas’s lead.  

Despite a 7-point scoring run by Texas, Alabama was able to round out the first quarter with a gap of only 3 points after a layup from Barker and guard Aaliyah Nye’s only 3-pointer of the night. 

 “I wish I would have hit the shots that I felt like I did get a quality shot,” Nye said. “I just didn’t knock them down with a couple of other shots that I took. I think it just happens sometimes.” 

Out of the nine 3-point shots Nye took during the game, she sank only two. Alabama’s team average fell to 27.8%, and although it left the Crimson Tide in a better position than Texas’ 20%, it was still a drop from Alabama’s 35.21% average. 

The second quarter mirrored the first, with Alabama bringing the deficit to only 1 point, but Texas quickly ran away with a 7-point lead to end the first half.  

Texas had an answer for every point Alabama made; the game plateaued at a 10-point lead for Texas and stayed there for the rest of the game, deviating by only a few points but quickly balancing out, until the Longhorns won by 11.  

Forward Essence Cody and Nye found themselves in foul trouble this game, and Alabama’s 17 personal fouls left Texas going 16-21 on free throws while the Crimson Tide could get only seven of its own.  

Aside from the players on the court, Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant came to support his alma mater. Although Durant was rooting for Texas, Barker couldn’t help but appreciate the attention and care he brought to the sport.  

“I think just him supporting women’s basketball means a lot even though he was supporting Texas, just him being here,” Barker said. “That just means a lot to us, just knowing that one of the best players ever was watching us play against Texas tonight. I think you need to be grateful for that and grateful for the opportunity that he was in the building tonight.”  

Although the loss was bitter, head coach Kristy Curry decided not to focus on that and instead celebrate a well-played season. 

“In our program, we have three core values, grit, love and gratitude, and the grittiness of this group, the love that they wear on the front of their chest in a day and time where that’s unique,” Curry said. “We’re not going to talk about what we didn’t do well enough. Today, we’re going to talk about all the things that we did well on a 10-month journey with the most special group I’ve ever had a season with, so I’m incredibly proud of them.” 

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