Defense shines late as Alabama women's basketball goes 1-1 in the Bahamas
Alabama women's basketball took a Thanksgiving week trip to the Bahamas to face its only two power-conference opponents outside of the SEC.
The Crimson Tide (3-2) went 1-1 at the Pink Flamingos Championship, held at the Baha Mar resort, starting with a 93-86 loss Monday to No. 19 Utah. The Crimson Tide started the game shooting 62% in the first half before shooting 40% in the second half. Brittany Davis scored 23 points while Aaliyah Nye scored 17 points before suffering an ankle injury.
Alabama rebounded with a final-minute win over Wake Forest on Wednesday. Megan Abrams, who led the way with 14 points, got a bucket and a foul with 4 seconds left for a 61-58 win. Davis added 12 points while Jada Rice had 11.
Here's what we learned from the trip.
Offense stays streaky
Alabama dropped 31 points in the first quarter while shooting 12-for-17 from the field against Utah. In the next three quarters, the Crimson Tide had five field-goal droughts of at least two minutes, as well as stretches of 1-for-9 and 3-for-11 in the second half.
Against Wake Forest, the Crimson Tide made only four of their first 17 shots and didn't attempt a field goal over the last 2:35 of the first quarter. Alabama started the second and third quarters shooting better but still struggled. The Crimson Tide were able to get the win while going 4-for-13 in the final quarter.
Fouls stay an issue
The Crimson Tide committed 25 fouls that led to 28 Utes free throws. That ended up being the difference maker as they made 27 of them. It was the third time in the last four games that the Crimson Tide have committed more than 20 fouls.
"The difference was the free throw line," coach Kristy Curry said on Monday. "We weren't able to get enough stops without putting them on the free-throw line."
The Crimson Tide improved against Wake Forest, committing only 16 fouls. It is their lowest total of the season, with only two players committing three fouls.
Defense starts to show out
The Crimson Tide had some strong defensive moments, especially against Wake Forest. Between the two games, the Crimson Tide forced 35 turnovers, including seven steals, while blocking seven shots. The Crimson Tide forced two shot-clock violations in the second quarter against the Demon Deacons. The Crimson Tide allowed six points in the final 5:30 and was able to secure multiple stops when it mattered.
Jada Rice had all seven blocks, which could be a sign that she is starting to become the post presence that the Crimson Tide is looking for.
"I think she has tried to take somethings to heart on how she can really help our team," Curry said Wednesday. "I think it starts on the defensive end with rim protection, sure we'd love to have a few more boards but then to have a presence in the paint to finish."