TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama women’s basketball team had their season opener against Alabama State Monday night, resulting in a victory over the Hornets. With a final score of 93-39, the Tide cruised to victory with ease by doubling their opponent’s scoring total.
Making a statement in her Tide debut, junior guard Jessica Timmons – a recent transfer from NC State – scored a career high 18 points, five rebounds and two steals in an impressive performance. She shot an impressive 62% from the field and led the team in usage with 32%, all while coming off the bench. Her performance showed a significant jump compared to last year’s outing where in 18 games, she averaged just 3.1 points in 9.6 minutes.
“I think 18 points is cool, but I still have to be able to get my teammates the ball and not turnover the ball as much, and work on defensive principles. There’s a lot of things I still need to work on. The points aren’t a big thing to me.” said Timmons.
While Timmons had herself a day, it was Sarah Ashlee Barker’s performance that truly stood out. Barker scored 23 points, including 15 before the half, setting a new career high. Her shooting seemed like she could barely miss, as she shot a 70% from the field and a remarkable 66.7% from beyond the arc. Additionally, she excelled at the free-throw line, making nearly 80% of her attempts while getting to the line 9 times. Barker also contributed 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 1 assist, all while finishing second in the team’s usage with 31%.
“I just wanna thank the coaches because honestly they just push me single day. It’s not about me, it’s about this team and just trying to take the open shot. That’s what I did today.” said Barker.
Apart from the offensive display, Alabama’s defense forced Alabama State into committing 32 turnovers in the game. The Tide created 33 points off turnovers alone and held the Hornets to just 30% shooting from the floor.
A major contribution in the defensive success was the Crimson Tide’s increased use of full-court press compared to previous seasons.
“I think when you have Burger [Del’Janae] Williams or Jessica Timmons, you have some quickness at the guard spot that comes in off the bench that gives us the ability with a little more depth to maybe press a little more than we have in the past,” said head coach Kristy Curry.
In the half-court, the pressure continued to mount, with the Tide effectively closing off every passing lane. The team recorded an impressive 18 steals, only having one Alabama player finish the game without a steal.
The Tide also out-rebounded the Hornets, 49 to 27 thanks to freshmen Essence Cody and Naomi Jones. Both provided 8 rebounds which helped create second-chance opportunities for the Tide, resulting in 21 points.
“We weren’t happy with Alabama-Huntsville the other night defensively…we did a much better job with communication and so many other factors I thought tonight.” said Curry.
With the victory, the Tide improves to 4-2 in their series against Alabama State and moves to 10-1 under head coach Kristy Curry on opening day. Alabama returns to Coleman Coliseum Nov. 10 against Winthrop Eagles at 4:30 pm CT, and will air on SEC Network+.
Jaylon Brooks is a senior writer for WVUA-FM Sports and covers the Alabama Women’s Basketball team. You can follow him on X @JaylonBrooksUA.