Photo by Hannah Saad from the Crimson White
By Jennaya Lazenby
Alabama Women’s Basketball team danced their way into the NCAA Women’s Tournament for the first time since 1999.
The Tide rolled through the first round of the tournament past the North Carolina Tar Heels. Bama beat Carolina 80-71, led by guard Jordan Lewis who had an outstanding 32 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in 39 minutes to lead the Tide to the win. Lewis was 11-21 from the field and 4-7 from the 3pt line. Lewis crossed up Carolina’s guard Stephanie Watts for a hard and-1 basket that helped the Crimson Tide extend their lead.
On Wednesday, March 24 the Tide faced No. 2 seed Maryland in the second round of the tournament. Bama struggled early on against the Terrapins in the first quarter, being outscored 30-9 at the end of the first. In the second quarter Maryland and Bama traded baskets for most of the quarter, but the Terrapins outscored the Tide 10-2 over the final three minutes to lead 54-25 at half time. Bama started off the third quarter strong, going on an 11-4 run over the first two and a half minutes of the quarter. Junior guard Hannah Barber and Jasmine Walker had back-to-back threes. Maryland quickly responded by score 15 out of their 18 points over a span of just four minutes, to end the third quarter leading 79-46. At the beginning of the fourth the teams went blow for blow, but the Terrains edged Bama 21-18 at the end of the quarter. Alabama’s forward Walker led the team with 23 points, seven rebounds and two assists in 35 minutes. Lewis was also on point for Bama, completing a crafty and-1 on Maryland’s guard Katie Benzan. The Tide came up short, losing 100-64 to Maryland; to cut their dance short in the NCAA Tournament. The Tide shot 42.6 percent from the floor; however, Maryland was able to knock down 61.8 percent of its attempts. The Terrapins won the battle of the boards, outrebounding Alabama 37-24, and had 13 steals.
“I do want to say how proud I am of our team. What this group has done is unbelievable. I don’t want this one day to take away from the entire journey that they’ve been on all season to get our program back to where it deserves to be, and that’s consistently in the NCAA Tournament. I told them I loved them, and that I’m really proud of them. We will continue to just roll up our sleeves and go back to work,” said head coach Kristy Curry.