Whole team pitches in, carries game-long head in season openerBy Mary Grace Showfety | 11/11/2012 11:00pm
The Alabama team took the win in its season opener against Jacksonville State University, 80-43.
The Crimson Tide controlled the court with sound defense and a powerful offense, leading the entire game.
“I thought we did a really good job of sharing the basketball and getting it to the open player,” head coach Wendell Hudson said. “I’m really happy with the effort of this team, and we’re really excited about the opportunities that I think we’re going to have with this team.”
Holding the Gamecocks to just 16 points in the first half and an additional four scoreless minutes at the start of the second, the Tide proved it is a force to be reckoned with.
“Being intense on the defensive end really made the game a lot easier for us,” senior guard Meghan Perkins said.
But Perkins showed leadership offensively, as well, with 14 points, just short of the night’s leading scorer, Shafontaye Myers who finished the game with 19 points.
With 17 turnovers in the first half alone and 38 overall, Jacksonville State was simply unable to execute on offense. Turnovers by the Gamecocks gave the Tide numerous opportunities, and it took advantage of the occasion.
Freshman Nikki Hegstetter gave the Tide serious defensive energy off the bench.
“We were talking on the bench that she can do a lot of things that might not show up on the stat sheet,” Hudson said. “She was helping when she was supposed to help and bluffing, as we call it. She was doing so many things and getting her hands on the ball and helping out, that we’re real excited.”
Hegstetter admits being unselfish is what got the team points on the board.
Hudson saw contributions from the whole roster, something he said is going to be an advantage for his team throughout the season.
“Getting 14 people in in the first half is awful hard, I don’t care who you’re playing,” Hudson said.
After experiencing somewhat of a disappointing season last year due to injuries and ineligibility, the Tide is thrilled to have depth on its side.
The Tide hits the road to Houston for its first road game of the year on Tuesday.
Hudson said there are a number of improvements that he hopes to make before playing Houston – including keeping up the intensity the entire game, even after substitutions – and shooting the ball better.
“Not shoot more; we shot 92 times, so that’s not the issue,” Hudson said. “But we’ve got to make the open shots that we were missing.”
Though this week will be the Tide’s first test on the road, Perkins said the team is not as concerned with Houston as they are themselves.
“We really focus on us and how we’re going to improve as a basketball team,” Perkins said. “We don’t really focus on the other team. We focus on us and what we need to do to become the basketball team that we want to be.”