Alabama defeats Georgia 64-50By Matt Speakman | 01/17/2016 10:35pm
The Alabama women’s basketball team took down Georgia in its fifth conference game of the season, winning 64-50. Alabama improves to 13-5 overall and 2-3 in conference play, while the Bulldogs fall to 13-5 overall and 1-4 in conference play.
“The difference was we got critical rebounds at critical times and points,” said coach Kristy Curry. “Really proud of our kids for staying the course.”
Alabama relied on the energy of the crowd to propel them to a hard-fought, 14-point win over Georgia. Over 3,000 fans came out to Foster Auditorium to support the Crimson Tide in its win.
“I think we have the greatest fans in the country,” said sophomore Karyla Middlebrook. “Georgia had a lot of fans here, too. Just warming up and hearing the Georgia fans being so hype, I think we took that as a sign that we needed to shut their fans down.”
The game was neck-and-neck to start out, with Alabama clinging to a two-point lead to end the first quarter, up 19-17. As the game slowed down in the second, so did the scoring. The two teams continued to go back and forth, with Alabama taking a six-point lead into halftime, leading 30-24.
Georgia came out in the second half looking to get back into the game. After Alabama took its first double-digit lead of the game (37-26), Georgia strung together an 11-2 run to put them back within two. To end the quarter, Alabama only connected on one of its 11 shot attempts and went scoreless in the final three minutes. Alabama had different plans in the fourth, as it outscored Georgia by 12 in final quarter to cruise to a 12-point victory over the Bulldogs.
Middlebrook led the way for the Tide, scoring 15 points in the win. Sophomore Hannah Cook was right behind her, tallying 14 points. Senior Nikki Hegstetter stuffed the stat sheet in a big night, earning a double-double by scoring 10 points and grabbing 11 boards.
“I think helping my team offensively and being in double-digits is very important,” Hegstetter said. “Coach Curry always says you need three to four people in double digits to be successful. I try and pride myself on doing the little things.”
In the loss, Georgia was able to out-rebounded the Crimson Tide 45-35, with 18 of those coming on the offensive end. Both teams went to the line over 15 times, with Alabama shooting 80.8 percent (21-26) and Georgia shooting 63.2 percent (12-19).
Turnovers and poor shooting plagued the Bulldogs for most of the night, as their field goal percentage dipped below 30 for the night. The Bulldogs shot 27.3 percent (15-55) from the field and turned the ball over 21 times.
“I think we played to win,” Curry said. “That was really the key ingredient down the stretch.”
Alabama shot slightly better than Georgia, even though the team could not connect on many of its 3-point attempts. The Crimson Tide shot 17.6 percent from 3-point range, while still managing to shoot 37.7 percent from the field overall.
Alabama will be back in action on Jan. 21 when it travels to Gainesville, Florida. to take on the Florida Gators at 6:00 p.m. CT.