By Tommy DiCostanzo Special to The Tuscaloosa News
Alabama women’s basketball dominated from start to finish as they beat the Mercer Bears 111-56 Sunday afternoon. The Tide’s 111 points is the team’s most in a game since 1997 and their 14 made three-pointers tied a program record.
“I loved our team today,” said Alabama coach Kristy Curry. “That’s how we’ve been shooting the basketball, that’s who we expect to be, that’s who we see in practice. We really need to build off today.”
Curry credited sophomore guard Hannah Barber for leading the Tide in the blowout.
“She’s one of our hardest workers, she’s in the best shape of her life, she shoots it every day, and I just have a lot of confidence in her when things aren’t going well or we need a sub, we have a lot of confidence in putting her in the game and she came in today and really made a big difference for us.”
A barrage of three-pointers was sparked by Barber, who drained three straight attempts from beyond the arc in the second quarter. Barber would finish with 12 points, all coming on three-pointers. The Tide ended the first half 11-20(55%) from three-point range and needed just three more makes in the third quarter to tie the school record. They would finish the game 14-27(51.9%) from three-point range.
“We’re trying to really pride ourselves on our grit and our gratitude,” said Barber. “I think that when we’re the toughest and we work the hardest but also at the same time we are grateful for what we have and blessed to receive this opportunity, when those two things work together, you see what you saw today.”
Although the team scored 111 points, Alabama’s De’Sha Benjamin led the team with just 16 points, as thirteen different players registered a point on the scoresheet. Benjamin notched her first career double-double as she added 10 rebounds to her 16 points.
This game was the team’s annual Bama Salute, honoring past and present members of our nation’s military. Military members received free admission to the game and were honored on the scoreboard during TV timeouts. At halftime, members of UA’s Air Force ROTC played a scrimmage against members of the Army ROTC program. That game featured lots of effort but little skill as Army claimed a 4-2 victory.
The win was Kristy Curry’s 100th as head coach of the Tide, but she put little emphasis on the accomplishment, instead focusing on the future.
“Everybody is a part of what we’re doing every day, it’s so much bigger than me,” she said. “I hope we can get a hundred more real quick but it’s not about the numbers, it’s about how we can impact those around us in the most positive way. We are real excited about our season and hope we can get a bunch more.”
Alabama’s win improves their record to 2-1 and they will return to action Thursday night when they visit South Alabama.