The Alabama women’s basketball team fell to 14th-ranked Texas A&M, 71-46, on Sunday afternoon at Foster Auditorium in the Crimson Tide’s Power of Pink/Play 4Kay game. With the loss, the Tide falls to 11-14 on the season and 4-8 in the Southeastern Conference, while the win lifts the Aggies to 20-6 overall and 10-2 in league action.
Alabama’s Ashley Williams led the game in scoring and rebounding with 19 points and nine boards. Karla Gilbert led Texas A&M with 15 points and five rebounds. For the game, the Tide shot 28.6 percent (16-56), while the Aggies were 53.3 percent (32-60) overall.
Alabama and Texas A&M traded baskets over the first four minutes of the game, but then the Tide went cold from the floor allowing the Aggies to build up a 13-point lead over the next 10 minutes. Texas A&M would go on to lead by as many as 17 in the half at took a 37-22 lead into the locker room at the break.
Alabama was able to cut its deficit to 13 early in the second half but would come no closer as its offensive struggles continued down the stretch.
Between the two teams, there was only one three-point field goal made in the entire game, which came with 1:37 remaining on the clock from Alabama’s Shafontaye Myers. The Tide attempted 13 shots from beyond the arc, while the Aggies took only one attempt all game from long range.
Texas A&M outscored Alabama 44-26 in the paint and out-rebounded the Tide 42-36.
Alabama returns to the court on Thursday when it hosts Mississippi State at Foster Auditorium. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST.
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Alabama Head Coach Kristy Curry
“Credit Texas A&M. I thought they played really well today. You cannot come out and shoot the ball from the foul line and the perimeter the way we did and have an opportunity to be successful, so you credit those guys. What a great opportunity for our team and for Texas A&M to represent something much bigger than a game today (with the Power of Pink/Play 4Kay game).”
On the today’s shots not falling:
“We had some great looks. You just have to keep shooting it. You just continue to the jump and get your reps up. We’ve minimized what we are doing as far as time in practice, actually up and down the floor on our legs this time of year. There is plenty of time to get in and get extra shots. We have our shooting times set for the week, so you just keep telling them to shoot. We had some great looks, some looks we’ve made before. We just have to continue to tell them to keep shooting it. I think that is the worst thing that you can do is tell them not to shoot the ball. We want them to shoot the ball and we have a lot of confidence that those shots will go in.”
Nikki Hegstetter, Forward
On the scoring drought after the strong start:
“Credit them (Texas A&M). They went man. I think that we really struggled in that regard. We just had a shooting drought, and it’s just one of those nights when we had good shots and good looks. It was there. That’s the encouraging part. We took good shots.”
Ashley Williams, Forward
On what Texas A&M was doing in the second half to out rebound them:
“I think that we, as a team, need to box out more to get the rebounds. I don’t think we focused enough on boxing out today.”
On what they need to do to finish the season strong heading into the SEC Tournament:
“We just need to focus. Focus on getting our shots up, and just focus on getting these next wins.”
Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair
“We came in with as much respect for Alabama as we do for anyone else in the SEC. When you can do what Kristy (Curry) has done in her first year, you’ve got to give the young lady some kudos. She’s going to get it done on the recruiting trail. (Ashley) Williams is a heck of a recruit. She’s definitely one of the top five freshmen in the league.
“I thought we did a pretty good job overall. We had shut you (Alabama) out on threes until the last one that (Shafontaye) Myers hit. That’s why we are in the top 10 in three-point percentage defense. We do it because we play man-to-man, where we open up in the zone. You (Alabama) missed a few, but then got good looks so we switched back to man coverage.
“I thought our shot selection by most of our starters were very good. It was good for (Courtney) Williams once the second half started. Sometimes she was shooting because she was open, and that’s what the defense wants sometimes, but if you look at the shooting percentage of our first five kids, it was pretty good.
“(Karla) Gilbert was a load in there. She could have gone for 30 tonight if I kept her in. We don’t see man-for-man; we see zone. This is the most man-for-man we’ve seen. It’s not that (Karla) Gilbert is Shaquille O’Neal or something, but she takes up three people converging on her and does a pretty good job with dumping the ball out. She only has one turnover in 22 minutes and 15 points. That’s pretty good. Normally when you triple or double team them, she travels a lot.
“We are going to take the win. I don’t know how good we are. We’ve played Georgia and LSU for the last two games, which both went down to the last second and we were lucky enough to play them both at home and won. Now we have to go to Ole Miss on Thursday. We’re going to take it just like we did with Alabama. We’re going to say I never won at Ole Miss in my 10 years at Arkansas, so I’ve got something to prove to myself that I can win a game in front of about 500 people because that’s all that is going to be there. We’re going to go win and play hard and see where the chips are. This is our 20th win. I feel good about basketball team. We keep finding ways. My sophomore guards out there are going to be pretty good by the time they are seniors.”
On limiting Shafontaye Myers and Daisha Simmons in scoring:
“That’s what you have to do. I had no idea that (Ashley) Williams was as good as she was. She didn’t play like that during the first game, but I have so much respect for (Shafontaye) Myers and (Daisha) Simmons. We paid a lot of attention to them. They missed some shots that they normally hit, but we came over with a lot of help and Simmons had to hit a lot of tough shots. I thought we did a pretty good job of not coming over and making those mistakes.
“I think Jordan Jones is the best defensive point guard in our league. I think she does a great job. The charge that she took and the other things she did against Alabama’s guards early, she did really well. This team was built with defense first, and that’s what Kristy (Curry) will do too. You have to build it with defense because the McDonald’s All Americans won’t come to you until you build a winning tradition. She knows the formula. She did it at Purdue. I had at A&M and Arkansas. She’s going to get people to come here. Tuscaloosa is a great place.”
On 12 Texas A&M players scoring:
“I have balance, and I have depth. When you win a national championship, people want to come to Alabama football and Texas A&M basketball. When I signed those six sophomores, and that No. 2 recruiting class, I still got five out of six. They are all perimeter players, and they are all good. That’s what happens. You have to build up depth and find kids who are willing to share. Kids come to Alabama because of tradition, and they come to A&M because of tradition, too.”