TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama women’s basketball team moved to 2-0 record after dominating Winthrop with a final score of 79-50. While it may only be two games played, the Crimson Tide are unveiling a gritty, yet well coached defense that is slowly becoming a cornerstone of their team’s identity.
Coming off their strong victory against Alabama State, the Crimson Tide seemed to stick to a similar gameplan by orchestrating an impressive defensive performance. Against Alabama State, the Tide showed their strength by forcing 32 turnovers. In a similar fashion against Winthrop, the Tide forced 28 turnovers which in response created 18 transition points. Much of the credit goes to Alabama’s use of the full court press which was put to use the whole game. Most notably, at the start of the second half when Alabama already held a 47-17 commanding lead.
“We’ve got to do something different than we’ve been doing in the past. Whether it’s a dead ball or a free throw…I think it’s really hard to guard people in the half court. Any extra possessions that we can create by bringing pressure to the full court can change our defense. I think you look at Loyal, Burger, Karly, Jessica, we’re a little different team than we were a year ago with our ability to create turnovers, so we want to extend it to the full court.” said head coach Kristy Curry.
The Alabama defensive identity wasn’t the only thing that looked similar. Sarah Ashlee Barker delivered another stellar performance, leading the team in scoring for the second time this season. She finished with a stat line of 19 points, 6 rebounds, and two steals on a remarkable 66% shooting. In just two games, Barker is hinting at a potential breakout season with averages of 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals on an outstanding 68% shooting— a significant leap from last season’s averages of 6.9 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals on 38% shooting.
While Barker continued to impress, Aaliyah Nye emerged as the fan favorite of the night, shooting 5-11 from downtown. Unleashing an impressive barrage of threes in the first quarter alone.
“To be honest, I felt like I haven’t been shooting the ball that well in practice, the past few exhibition games, and the first game. But I told myself just to think of that next play mentality and try to just forget about that. Just shoot the ball and coach Kristy and my teammates, they believe in me and they keep telling me to shoot it. That’s what I did.” said Aaliyah Nye.
Her sharpshooting, paired with Alabama’s defensive pressure set a dominant tone for the Tide, denying any opportunity for Winthrop to seize the lead.
“This team right now. The potential is the biggest room for improvement and we just got so much we can continue to grow with.”
With the victory, the Tide improves to 2-0. Alabama returns to Coleman Coliseum Nov. 12 against Morehead State at 2:00 CST and will air on SEC+.
Jaylon Brooks serves as the Senior Women’s Basketball writer for WVUA-FM Sports. You can follow him on X @JaylonBrooksUA.