OXFORD, Miss. – After trailing by seven in the fourth quarter, the Alabama women’s basketball team drained three-consecutive threes to edge Ole Miss, 57-56, on Sunday in Oxford, Miss.
The victory is the third Southeastern Conference win for the Crimson Tide (13-9, 3-6 SEC), while the Rebels (7-15, 0-9 SEC) are still seeking their first victory of 2020.
Junior Ariyah Copeland led with 11 points, while sophomore De’Sha Benjamin and senior Ashley Knight each added 10 points. Knight also grabbed eight boards while blocking three shots.
“I thought our bench really helped us,” head coach Kristy Curry said. “Cierra (Johnson) came off the bench and really played well. She made some great decisions, played smart and showed some maturity. We have some kids that need to play better earlier in the game and down the stretch I went with Cierra’s experience. De’Sha (Benjamin) was really good today, we shortened our bench in the second half and I think that was the difference.”
The Crimson Tide found themselves in a battle from the start as the Rebels kept it close in the first quarter and only trailed 18-15 after the first 10 minutes of action.
The two sides went back-and-forth in the second quarter with Alabama only leading by as many as five at the beginning of the period. Ole Miss took the 30-28 lead with just over two minutes left in the half, before a jumper by Benjamin knotted things at 30-30 at the break.
Neither team could separate itself from the other in the third period, until the Rebels scored the final five points of the quarter to go up 48-42.
Ole Miss held the 51-44 advantage with over seven minutes to go when Alabama knocked in three-straight three-pointers to take the 53-51 lead with 5:59 to go. The Rebels countered with a three of their own to gain the 54-53 edge. Copeland scored two buckets in two minutes to put Alabama back on top 57-54 with under four in the game.
The Rebels cut the lead to 57-56 with 1:44 to go, however, the Tide held on for its third SEC victory of the season.
Next, Alabama will return to Lexington, Ky., to play No. 13/13 Kentucky for the second time this season.