Although it was not the week they would have hoped for, the Alabama women’s basketball team made a notable impression during the Betty Chancellor Classic, advancing their overall standing to 7-1. The Tide started off strong in the tournament getting an upset win over then No. 20 Louisville with a final score of 78-73. It marked Alabama’s first win over a ranked team since 2021, when the Tide knocked off No. 14 Mississippi State.
To no surprise, Sarah Ashlee Barker – who is having a career year – helped set the tone for Tide, finishing the game with 18 points and seven rebounds. However, she was not alone as five members of the Crimson Tide scored in double digits. Behind Barker, Jessica Timmons, the transfer from NC State, has proven to be a key acquisition for the Tide finishing second on the team in scoring with 14 points. Timmons also had a season high 7 rebounds and was a force to be reckoned with defensively. Her impactful contributions have been pivotal for the Tide, prompting Head Coach Kristy Curry to elevate her to the starting lineup after just four games this season. Aaliyah Nye continued her hot start to her senior season, finishing with 12 points – seven of which came in the final 30 seconds. Nye, who has been proving to be a fantastic two-way player, also showed she might have ice in her veins, hitting a clutch go-ahead three-pointer with 27 seconds remaining in addition to sinking all four free throws in the game’s waning moments. Joining Nye in the double-digit scoring were Karly Weathers and Loyal McQueen, giving the five players accounting for all but nine of the Tide’s 78-points. Although it wasn’t a dominant win, Alabama’s strong teamwork alongside the use of the full-court press made a significant impact. They never gave up, always playing for each other, which managed them to be able to steal a win in such a close nail biter.
Following their big win against Louisville, the Tide unfortunately suffered their first loss of the season against Gonzaga with a final score of 68-58. Almost instantly it became apparent that Alabama was having a hard time finding their offensive rhythm. Proof being the Tide going down 13 points early before the end of the first quarter only to be trailing by 22 at the end of the second quarter. It did not get any better offensively until the end of the third and start of the fourth where Alabama was able to create some pressure from the full-court press. Alabama stood little chance as they shot 36% compared to Gonzaga who shot 48% from the floor.
“I thought we showed a sense of immaturity with our decision making… we got down early and we were on our heels the whole day but you have to love our effort there and the fourth. No quit, so it was just a really poor start, but I loved our effort and the third and the fourth, you know, to outscore them both quarters to win the second half says a lot, but we can learn and grow from this. We’ve just got to play better,” said head coach Kristy Curry.
Although there weren’t many positives for the Tide, Del’Janae “Burger” Williams led Alabama with a season high of 14 points and Essence Cody recorded the first double-double of her career. As the highest recruit in Alabama women’s basketball history, Cody’s impressive performance earned her the Southeastern Conference Co-Freshman of the Week. Cody, who has started every game for Alabama, leads the team in rebounds and blocks, has showcased her pivotal role as a viable asset for the Tide.
Dissatisfied with their previous performance against Gonzaga, Alabama showed a resurgence in their last matchup against Liberty. Returning to their old ways, they outplayed Liberty finishing the game with an impressive 72-47. This victory secured the Crimson Tide a 2-1 record for the tournament, accompanied with recognition of Aaliyah Nye being named to the All-Tournament team. Nye finished with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting, sharing the lead in scoring with Karly Weathers. Both Nye and Weathers were among the five UA players who reached double digits in scoring, a list that also included Loyal McQueen, Essence Cody, and Jessica Timmons, each contributing 10 points.