It’s a play the Alabama women’s basketball team works on a lot in practice, but it took some persuasion for it to be called during the game.
The Crimson Tide was able to erase a late three-point deficit to claim a 65-61 victory over Missouri State on Tuesday afternoon at Coleman Coliseum, partly because assistant coach Brooks Donald Williams insisted on calling a half-court trap defense coming out of a timeout to surprise the Lady Bears.
“She talked me into it and it was the right call,” Alabama coach Kristy Curry said. “I felt they were too comfortable against our man, so we had to change some things up.”
Ashley Williams had just hit two free throws to give Alabama a 62-61 lead with 29 seconds left. The key defensive decision led to an Alabama steal, and after Shaquera Wade made one of two free throws, Alabama was ahead 63-61.
“We were anticipating, man,” Missouri State coach Kellie Harper said. “I thought that trap surprised us and we didn’t handle it well.”
Curry then called for another trap and Alabama collected another steal. Wade got fouled again and made both free throws to put the game away for Alabama.
“Coach always tells us to be aggressive, so I knew right then when they called the play that defensively we need to be aggressive, and I was just very active and got my hand on the ball and got the steal,” Wade said.
Wade finished with eight points and five rebounds, but her late free throw shooting is what Curry credited for Alabama pulling out a tough victory.
Williams led the way for Alabama with 21 points and nine rebounds. Curry felt that Williams’ offensive advantages helped Alabama come back in the fourth period.
“I think she is a mismatch at the high post and she did a really good job of getting into the open window and making some plays for us,” Curry said.
The Crimson Tide did not allow MSU to score over the final 2:46 of the game. The team only allowed Alex Willard one shot in the fourth quarter after she had 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting through three quarters.
“We did a much better job of making sure where she was catching the ball, tried to limit her catches and made sure we were there on the catch,” Curry said.
Alabama returns to action on Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Murray State. The Crimson Tide will be looking for its fifth consecutive victory.