TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama truly had a chance to take down No. 1 South Carolina on Sunday, but their court-storming dreams were dashed by one-too-many missed opportunities.
Through the opening quarter, the Crimson Tide found themselves down just two points. Brittany Davis was heating up and the team was playing some of its best defense of the season.
But over the course of the game, Alabama went just 8-25 on layups. When opportunities arose off of great defensive plays, Kristy Curry’s team simply couldn’t take advantage.
“I thought we passed up some open looks and open windows, even from two, that we probably ended up getting a worse shot,” said Curry.
Alabama attempted just two threes in the opening half, instead opting to take contested shots at the rim against South Carolina’s defense, which Curry described as a “tall task.”
“I thought we were a little hesitant,” said Curry.
But in all respects, save for some offensive deficiencies, Alabama gave the top team in women’s basketball quite a game. They managed to hold South Carolina’s offense to their second-lowest offensive output of the season and had a real chance to win throughout the game, unlike against LSU.
In the LSU game, the second quarter spelled doom for the Crimson Tide. They were outscored 28-7, putting the game essentially out of reach headed into the locker room at halftime. In this game, however, Alabama lost no quarter by more than five points.
If there was ever a loss to be proud of, it would be this one. Coming within a few shots of beating the top-ranked team in the nation?
Curry, however, didn’t see it the same way.
“No moral victories. We expected to win today.”
Sarah Ashlee Barker led Alabama with 15 points, adding 5 rebounds and 3 assists. 10 of her 15 came in the opening half.
Davis had 13 points for the Crimson Tide with 8 rebounds against the Gamecocks. She was held to just 2 points in the second half.
Curry was pleased with two areas of the game: free throws and taking care of the ball. Alabama was 10-16 from the line while South Carolina put up only a 5-9 night at the line.
“The fact that we made more free throws than they shot shows me that we were passionate and aggressive,” Curry said.
The Tide also managed only 11 turnovers against the top-ranked scoring defense in women’s basketball. South Carolina has allowed just 46 points per game by opponents, nearly four points lower than the next closest.
“Just a tremendous effort. You know, a play here or there, but again, I don’t want to take away from South Carolina. I mean they’re phenomenal and (we) just came up on short,” said Curry.
Megan Abrams remains out with an unknown injury, although Curry remains optimistic about her return. “Now (the bye-week), comes at another right time for Meg to continue to get healthy and for us to rest,” Curry said.
JaMya Mingo-Young and Khyla Wade-Warren, as previously reported, are out for the season.
Alabama falls to 16-6 on the season, 5-4 in the SEC with the loss to South Carolina.
They’ll travel to take on Missouri, on Feb. 5. The game is set to be broadcast on SEC Network at 4 p.m. CT.
Follow Nicholas Pursley on Twitter @nicholaspursley for 24/7 coverage of Alabama women’s basketball.
This article has been updated.