It started ugly for Alabama, but it didn’t finish that way.
The Crimson Tide shot a dismal 24 percent from the floor in the first quarter of its 73-49 win over Grambling State on Sunday. The Lady Tigers shot even worse.
Alabama held Grambling State to just six points on 17 percent shooting in the first quarter, but only scored 14 points of its own. It was just the fourth time this season the Crimson Tide had a lead after the first 10 minutes.
“I liked our shot selection in the first quarter, they just didn’t go in,” Alabama coach Kristy Curry said. “That’s why it’s a 40-minute game. I told them to just keep doing what you are doing and stay positive.”
It didn’t get much better from there for the Lady Tigers. Alabama opened up an 11-point lead by halftime, getting its offense going with a 20-point second quarter to complement another strong effort on the defensive end. Outside of transition baskets, Grambling State could not get any scoring around the rim.
“I liked our team defense, and I thought we understood the scouting report today,” Curry said. “We had to guard penetration, and I thought our guards did a nice job helping. We got some blocks, got some deflections, and it was good for us.”
On offense, Hannah Cook scored a team-high 20 points while also grabbing 10 rebounds. Cook has now scored in double figures in eight of Alabama’s nine games this season. The senior was named to the inaugural Cheryl Miller Award watch list at the beginning of the season, an award going to the nation’s best small forward.
“I’m being more aggressive this year, and trying to help my teammates out,” Cook said. “For today, I really focused on rebounding, that was my main goal. I let the offensive side just come to me.”
It was just another game for center Ashley Knight, who piled up four more blocks to bring her season total to 26. Knight is averaging nearly three blocks per game through nine contests, which ranks third in the Southeastern Conference. The sophomore played a big role in holding Grambling State to just seven points in the third quarter by patrolling the paint. She finished with nine points and seven rebounds.
“I really knew their personnel,” Knight said. “I knew they liked to drive, and if I could stop them they would most likely pass it out. I think my teammates had (the rest).”
Alabama has now won two straight games following its losing streak at the end of last month. The 24-point win over the Lady Tigers was Alabama’s third-largest margin of victory this season, and impressive considering Grambling State was picked to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference this season.
Shakyla Hill had 26 points and 13 rebounds for Grambling State.
“It was a little bit ugly at times, but I loved the way our team stayed together and had a big third quarter,” Curry said. “Overall, it was just a great team win today.”