Facing multiple double-digit deficits including being down 10 with 3:42 left, the Alabama women’s basketball team never stopped fighting and cut the lead to two late but eventually fell 79-73 to Syracuse for their second loss of the season.
After beginning the fourth quarter leading 55-52, Syracuse would go on a 10-3 run to extend their lead to 65-55. Being down 10 with under five minutes remaining would cause a lot of teams to quit, but the Crimson Tide kept battling. After forcing multiple turnovers, Aaliyah Nye hit two three pointers and a layup to cut it to two. However, like they did all game, Syracuse made another run to put the game away.
Nye, Sarah Ashlee Barker, and Essence Cody led Alabama in scoring with all three-scoring 14 plus. Nye and Barker combined for seven three pointers while Cody commanded the paint and found her way to the free throw line multiple times.
The game began with a 5-0 jab from the Crimson Tide led by Barker hitting a layup and knocking down a three-pointer. Syracuse responded with a 12-3 run over the next five minutes including two three pointers. Nye cut into the lead with a shot from behind the arc with 13 seconds left but Syracuse’s Alyssa Latham finished a layup at the buzzer to make it 16-13 at the end of the first quarter.
After Alabama cut the Orange lead to one, Syracuse extended their lead to nine with a 13-0 run led by Latham and Dyaisha Fair. Both teams traded baskets for the rest of the quarter until Nye, who shot 45% from three last season, nailed her third three of the game at the buzzer to cut the lead to six heading into halftime.
After Isabel Varejao finished at the rim to put the Orange up by eight with 7:45 left in the third quarter, Alabama struck back with a 11-3 run to tie the game up. Barker had eight of her 18 points during the run and Loyal Mcqueen added a bucket as well.
However, Syracuse answered with a 10-0 run before Cody added five unanswered to make it 55-50 going into the fourth quarter.
The story of the was Syracuse’s ability to finish at the rim and Alabama’s ineptitude to do so. The Orange outscored The Crimson Tide 40-34 in points in the paint as Alabama shot 15/30 on layups.
“Credit to Syracuse, they were able to make some plays down the stretch. I thought our bench play was poor, but overall thought we played poorly as far as rebounding the basketball. It was atrocious and something we continue to talk about, work on and continue to coach, but you can’t get out rebounded by 22 on the road and expect to win basketball games.”
Alabama will head back to face Coastal Carolina in Coleman Coliseum Dec.6.
Nazario Pangallo is a contributor for WVUA-FM Sports.