Not much went right offensively for Alabama as it scored just 17 points and mustered only five baskets in the first half of its 59-44 win over SMU on Sunday.
Alabama shot just 14 percent in the first half, but the defense held SMU to just 44 points on 23 percent shooting for the game.
Head coach Kristy Curry said the team did a good job of defending and rebounding to keep themselves in the game.
“It’s been a staple for us,” Curry said. “We want to be the hardest-working team in the SEC as far as our energy defensively and our active hands. I thought today that was the difference, we were able to get our hands on a couple of balls and get some of those easy looks in the third quarter.”
The Crimson Tide’s defense forced 17 turnovers for the Mustangs for the game and got to the free throw line 13 more times than the Mustangs.
Curry had confidence that her team was taking the right shots and that they would start to fall in the second half. She conveyed that message to her team at halftime.
“Just told our kids to stay positive at the half,” Curry said. “Just let it go and try to make the next one. We have a lot of confidence in them. If you have an open look, get your feet set and let it fly.”
The confidence shown to the team helped Hannah Cook in the second half. Cook was held scoreless in the first half, but led the Crimson Tide with 13 points in the second half and in the game, moving her up to No. 14 all-time in scoring at Alabama with 1,197 career points.
“You’ve just got to trust your shot, and coach and my teammates kept telling me to keep taking my shot,” Cook said. “That’s most of the reason why I got out of that slump in the first half.”
Alabama outscored SMU 42-27 in the second half.
Kiara Perry led the Mustangs with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“We found a way to win down the stretch,” Cook said. “It’s a good day for us; it’s not easy to play a game after the finals. I loved how our kids responded down the stretch.”
The win improved Alabama’s record to 7-3 on the season. The Crimson Tide plays two more games in the next three days, including Tuesday’s matchup against Missouri State at noon.