Alabama women's basketball falls 53-49 on senior night

Alabama women's basketball falls 53-49 on senior night

Alabama women's basketball falls 53-49 to Florida in its final home game of the 2015 season. CW / Layton Dudley

Senior Sharin Rivers had to have crutches as she slowly made her way to her framed jersey. Tears started to roll down her face as she gazed up at her career highlights playing on the video screen. Thursday night was the last night Rivers put on an Alabama jersey and walked out into Foster Auditorium. It was a sad yet joyful night for both her and fellow senior forward Briana Hutchen with Alabama losing at the end to Florida 53-49.

“You just hate to see a senior lose on senior night. So my heart aches and breaks for them. Credit Florida they were able to make a few more plays down the stretch,” coach Kristy Curry said.

In the last few minutes of the first half, Rivers was fighting for possession when she fell in front of the Florida bench. Rivers immediately yelled and grabbed her left knee. Two members of the Alabama medical staff had to carry Rivers to the locker room. She did not return to the game. 

“Sha [Rivers] and Brezi [Hutchen] mean a lot to me. I just really hate it that we didn’t get the win for them,” freshman Karyla Middlebrook said. “To see Sha go down like that, especially on her senior night, she just deserved to get that win.”

Alabama at one point led by eight points in the second half, but Florida came back. With less than five minutes left Florida took a three-point lead 45-42, but then Middlebrook knocked a 3-pointer down to tie the game. Florida’s Cassie Peoples took over she scored back-to-back baskets. The four-point lead was hard to comeback from and Alabama was matched with baskets the rest of the way. Florida hit four crucial free throws to ice the game.

“I do think it is making us stronger to see that we are right there with the girls [in close games], but at some point we have got to do more,” Middlebrook said. “Being two, three, one point away just isn’t enough, we have got to dig deeper.”

Alabama just recently lost to No. 11 Mississippi State by two points. The Crimson Tide is now 13-17 overall and 2-13 in the SEC. Alabama closes out the regular season at Auburn at 2 p.m.

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