Davis and Abrams combine for 50 points to upset Lady Vols


Courtesy of UA Athletics

Alabama head coach Kristy Curry celebrates with her team after a 74-64 upset victory over the Lady Volunteers on Feb. 17, 2022

Ashlee Woods | @ashleemwoods, Sports Editor

Neither the weather nor the Tennessee Lady Volunteers could stop the Crimson Tide. 

Alabama women’s basketball upset No. 12 Tennessee 74-64 Thursday night in Coleman Coliseum. This is the Crimson Tide’s first ranked win this season and their first top-15 win since 2021

The game was in limbo for a brief period due to inclement weather. The National Weather Service in Birmingham, Alabama, issued a tornado warning for Tuscaloosa County — including the UA campus — at 5:01 p.m. CT. Tipoff was scheduled for 6 p.m. CT. 

The warning was canceled at 5:36 p.m. CT, and the game went on as scheduled in front of a small crowd in Coleman Coliseum. 

“It’s a really tough night for all fans to come out,” Alabama head coach Kristy Curry said. “I just hope and pray that everybody across the South is OK.” 

The delay didn’t keep the Alabama guards from shining. Guards Megan Abrams and Brittany Davis combined for 50 of the Crimson Tide’s 74 points. Abrams tied her season high against the Lady Vols, scoring 27 points.  

Guard JaMya Mingo-Young had a quiet night, offensively scoring 8 points, but Mingo-Young impacted the game in other ways. She had 10 rebounds, five assists and a career-high six steals. 

“She had half of our team’s assists, so just her being aggressive and finding the open person, I think that’s what contributed to our heart,” Abrams said.

Tennessee center Tamari Key led the Lady Vols in scoring and rebounding with a season-high 20 points and 13 rebounds. 

Alabama won the turnover battle Thursday night. The Crimson Tide committed 12 turnovers compared with 14 from Tennessee, and Alabama scored 17 points off those turnovers. 

The Crimson Tide came out shooting well from 3-point range. The first two Alabama buckets were 3-pointers from Davis and guard Hannah Barber. 

Tennessee weathered the early flurry from Alabama. Back-to-back 3-pointers from forward Rae Burrell gave the Lady Vols a slight 11-8 advantage with 3:39 left in the first quarter. 

The Crimson Tide found their groove again during the last three and a half minutes of the first frame. Alabama outscored Tennessee 8-3 to lead 16-14 at the sound of the first buzzer. 

The second quarter was a back-and-forth contest. Both teams traded free throws, layups and 3-point buckets during the first four minutes of the second quarter. 

That’s when the Crimson Tide busted the game open. 

A 3-point bucket from Davis started a 10-0 scoring run for the Crimson Tide. With just under three minutes left in the first half, Alabama led by 13, and the Lady Vols had no answers. 

Tennessee scored four more points in the final two minutes of the first half. At halftime, Alabama went into the locker room with a 38-29 lead. 

In past games, the Crimson Tide came out slow to begin the second half. That wasn’t the case Thursday night. 

Alabama scored eight points in the first 93 seconds of the third quarter. Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper was forced to call a timeout, as her team had no early answers for Alabama’s perimeter shooting. 

The Lady Vols broke the huddle down 16 early in the third frame. Alabama kept the pressure on Tennessee, and the Lady Vols got no closer than 14 points. Tennessee was outscored 25-16 and trailed 63-45 heading into the fourth quarter. 

The Crimson Tide went cold in the final 10 minutes of action, but Tennessee got hot. 

A layup from Abrams gave Alabama a 20-point lead — its largest of the game — before the shots stopped falling. The Crimson Tide didn’t score a field goal in the last eight minutes of action. Seven of Alabama’s 11 points were free throws. 

Tennessee guard Jordan Horston scored six of her 12 points in the final quarter. The Lady Vols’ late-game surge was halted, however, when Horston injured her arm and left Coleman Coliseum in an air cast. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Jordan Horston,” Curry said. “We just hope she’s okay.” 

The Lady Vols managed to cut Alabama’s lead from 20 to 10, but a turnover by Tennessee guard Jordan Walker sealed the win for the Crimson Tide. 

The small crowd of Alabama fans cheered as Abrams dribbled to run out the clock. The final buzzer sounded and the Crimson Tide had their fourth conference win. 

“What a tremendous effort from our kids,” Curry said. “I’m so proud of our team. They have just continued to fight through adversity, close losses [and] tough moments. Tonight, we found a way to finish.” 

Next up for Alabama is a road trip to College Station, Texas, to take on the Texas A&M Aggies. Tipoff from Reed Arena is set for 5 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.