By (Matthew Speakman)

After the buzzer sounded, the Alabama women’s basketball team found
itself in a moment it had not experienced since 1984. On senior night, the
team defeated Tennessee for the first time since March 3, 1984, winning 54-46.

“I did not realize that it was that many [years],” said
Alabama coach Kristy Curry. “They said 1984 and that was the year I
graduated from high school. That really put it into perspective.”

With the win, Alabama snapped Tennessee’s 42-game winning
streak in the series. It was also the first time Alabama beat Tennessee in
Tuscaloosa in 18 tries. For senior Nikki Hegstetter, it could not have come on
a better night.

“I think this is probably the best moment of my life,”
Hegstetter said. “I have had a few great ones, but this tops it all.”

Senior night came with an array of emotions, as Alabama said
goodbye to Hegstetter and fellow senior Khadijah Carter. The players were
introduced and given their framed jerseys before the game, but then it was time to focus on the game at hand.

“I held it back then,” Hegstetter said. “I told coach Curry
that we have a job to do. After the game it was just a rush of emotion.”

Alabama took a quick lead in the beginning of the
game, but it went back and forth for most of the first quarter. Going into the
half, the team had an 11-point lead heading into halftime thanks to a 13-3 run
in the second.

Tennessee would climb its way back into the game, but
Alabama would manage to hold on, snapping the longstanding streak. Curry
believes a win like this adds to what the program is trying to

“That is what we are here for,” she said. “We are here to
change the culture and change the program and do a lot of ‘firsts.’ This is one
that we can add to that.”

Sophomore Karyla Middlebrok led the way for the Crimson Tide,
scoring 13 points, with 12 of those points coming in the first half. Fellow
sophomore Hannah Cook recorded a double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing
10 rebounds.

Middlebrook believes her fast start was a major key in the

“Coach Curry told us that we need to be the more aggressive team,”
she said. “I tried to go out there and do that. The team feeds off of my energy
sometimes so I just tried to go out there and be aggressive. My teammates were
finding me.”

Hegstter and Carter ended their home careers with a historic
win for the program. The Crimson Tide had only beaten Tennessee twice in 51

As the game ended, with the ball in Carter’s hands, the team
rushed to the middle of the court and embraced. Hegstetter and Carter were both
overcome with emotion as they embraced their teammates. Hegstetter said this
is a night that she will never forget.

“It has been a great night,” she said. “ I do not want it to
end. I do not think I will go to sleep until two or three in the morning just
so it doesn’t end.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports