On a Night of Returns, Alabama WBB Outlasts Texas A&M
Even though Texas A&M had a 5-12 season and Alabama sat 14-4, this game was still going to mean something special for Aggies head coach Joni Taylor.
Taylor is a former Alabama player, who played from 1997 to 2001 under coach Rick Moody. She scored over 700 points and was a two-year starter during a streak that saw two NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run at the Sweet Sixteen in 1997 and two Women’s NIT appearances.
“Coming to Alabama in 1997 was the best decision I made in my life,” Taylor said. “Alabama will always be my home…being here is a great place.”
The other side of the court was also getting a reunion of sorts, as Alabama leading scorer Brittany Davis returned after an injury kept her out of the Ole Miss game on Sunday.
“I feel good,” Davis said, “just trying to pick up where I left off and help our team be the best they can be.”
Davis’ return was crucial tonight for the Crimson Tide, as the team struggled offensively and went through several slumps throughout the game as Texas A&M made it a tough game. She scored 14 points on the 4/11 shot and also contributed nine rebounds on her return.
Alabama opened the game leading 21-10 after the first quarter, but after that the game was tied with both teams struggling to shoot the ball.
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“Texas A&M is going to get somebody, luckily it wasn’t us,” head coach Kristy Curry said.
The main thing that helped Alabama through these difficult times was the fact that seven of the nine players who played tonight scored, which has been a trend for the team lately.
Hannah Barber had a season-high 14 points, while Sarah Ashlee Barker contributed a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“[Texas A&M] wasn’t turning on their screens, so when we were able to set a good screen, we were able to get some open eyes,” Barber said.
Jada Rice and Ryan Cobbins were calm offensively, but both had massive games bouncing the ball, with Rice having six and Cobbins having four.
“It doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet, but bench points and off-the-bench decision-making are crucial in this league,” Curry said.
Alabama will need to keep the team’s goal production going when they face No. 3 LSU in their next game on Monday, a team that beat Texas A&M 74-34 in their meeting with the Aggies.
With Brittany Davis returning to the lineup and the bench plays getting involved offensively, Alabama may have its best chance of knocking the Tigers down in Tuscaloosa.