Much like the first time they met this season, Alabama’s matchup against Missouri was a battle until the very end. Except this time, Brittany Davis took it upon herself to lift the Crimson Tide to victory.
Early in the fourth, she’d already scored a season-high in points. Davis wasn’t done there.
11 fourth-quarter points sealed both the win for Alabama and a career-high for Davis. When the night was over, she’d scored 33 points in addition to 8 rebounds and a trio of assists.
“It was great to see her have a big day when we needed it the most,” said head coach Kristy Curry.
“I thought our team did a great job of getting her the ball. We were trying to get her isolated, we thought it was a mismatch… They couldn’t guard her.”
Hannah Barber also gave the Tide 13 points for the game, while Aaliyah Nye added 10 and 4 rebounds.
Remarkably, Alabama made all 18 free throws they attempted on the night. Missouri missed just two of their 20 attempts.
Haley Frank led Missouri in scoring with 26 points and 7 rebounds on 7-12 shooting. She also went 11-11 on the game from the charity stripe.
“She’s fun to watch on film, it’s not fun to watch in person… You saw two really special kids, who are fifth-year players in this league, going at it. It was really cool to watch her and Brittany today,” Curry said.
How It Happened
Off an offensive rebound, Brittany Davis swung the ball back to Hannah Barber who knocked down a three to give Alabama the opening points. Little did they know, it’d be the only three they’d make for the next 20 minutes.
But Alabama wasn’t going to turn away from the deep ball.
“We just have a lot of confidence in our team from three. A three counts more than two, so if you’re open, we want you to shoot it. You’d love to play in this system, because anytime you’re open just catch and shoot,” said Curry.
Alabama struggled to find their shot early on the road, shooting just 1-7 from deep in the first half. But it wasn’t the only thing working against them early. Jada Rice was forced out of the game with a pair of early fouls, while Missouri’s Haley Frank caught fire to open the contest.
After failing to make a shot for the last 4:46 of the opening quarter, Alabama found themselves down as much as nine points midway through the second.
But it was the Crimson Tide’s grit that kept them in the game. No play marked that more than the final shot of the first half. Another Alabama three clanked off the rim, but Brittany Davis putback as time expired.
Out of the half, Alabama immediately scored in the paint off a post move from Davis. On the other end? A lockdown possession that ended in a contested midrange from Missouri’s center Jayla Kelly.
After a trio of lockdown defensive positions, Missouri needed a timeout just a few minutes into the second half. The situation at halftime had flipped; a three-point deficit turned into a three-point lead.
For Curry, the message was simple at halftime. They had to step things up on defense.
“The message was that we need to defend better. We were just letting them dictate the tempo, our ball pressure… We were switching one through four, at certain times one through five and I thought we just made the catch harder and had more energy on the ball. It was where they were catching it in the first half compared to the second half, and just a tremendous job defensively by our team,” said Curry.
When Alabama was finally able to cash in a few three-pointers in the third, they took their largest lead of the game. But before they could catch their breath, Missouri came storming back to keep things within four headed into the fourth.
Missouri continued to fight, but Alabama shot 63.7% from the field to keep a charging Mizzou at bay. Davis and Hannah Barber combined for 18 in the final 10 minutes.
Megan Abrams remains out with a hamstring injury.
With the win, Alabama improved to 17-6 and 6-4 in SEC play. They’ll head to Kentucky on Feb. 9 to take on the Wildcats at 6 p.m. CT. The game is set to broadcast on SEC Network+.
This story will be updated.