As CBS’ Bill Raftery often says during March Madness, “Onions.”
Hampton’s Makayla Timmons drained a three-point shot as time expired in Coleman Coliseum to lift the Pirates to a 64-61 win on Wednesday night.
The two teams combined for 48 points in the fourth quarter to give a jolt of energy into a rather lackluster game through three quarters. With the score tied at 47 with six minutes left, the lead changed five times down the stretch.
Hampton held a two-point lead with 21 seconds left and a hustle play by redshirt junior Jordan Lewis kept the ball from going out-of-bounds by finding junior Ariyah Copeland who laid it in with six seconds remaining. Copeland finished with a double-double recording 11 points and 11 rebounds. Lewis had a game high 14 points in her first game action since breaking her wrist last December forcing her to redshirt the rest of last season.
“It was good but I don’t think I performed up to the standards I could’ve,” Lewis said. “You have to get out to good starts against teams like this, they got after us in the beginning and I think it’s just something to learn from.”
Enter, Timmons. The graduate transfer from Old Dominion came off a screen and caught the ball. With one pump fake to let Lewis fly past and one dribble to the right, Timmons launched her game winner that hit nothing but nylon as the buzzer rang. It was the Pirates sixth three-pointer on seven attempts in the final quarter.
“We were switching one through five and overran the switch, it’s disappointing,” coach Kristy Curry said. “Just tough there at the end, a girl hit a really tough shot.”
Hampton out-shot the Crimson Tide 41 percent to 27 percent from the field which was the only major category the Pirates held an advantage in. Alabama scored more fast break points (13-6), bench points (25-6), second chance points (14-6), out rebounded (40-32) and blocked more shots (4-0) than Hampton but the struggles shooting were the pitfall of the Alabama performance including 18 missed layups.
“We were getting good shots but it became contagious and we have to have enough toughness to finish shots,” Curry said. “You can’t miss that many layups and expect to beat anyone.”
It was a tale of two quarters in the first half for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama missed all 12 attempts from the field in the opening period but made 11-of-15 free throws to keep the score close at 17-11 at the end of the quarter.
Copeland, who also hit a pair of free throws to opening the scoring in the game, made the first field goal at the 9:20 mark of the second quarter to kick start a 7-0 run and the first half turnaround.
Alabama gained its first lead at 22-21 by way of a layup by junior Jasmine Walker. With more free throws and despite shooting a dismal 14 percent from the field in the first half, the Crimson Tide held a 29-23 lead at halftime powered by those 15 makes at the charity stripe. Lewis had a team high six of those free throws in the first half.
“I don’t think a game is defined by a game winning shot, there’s several things that go into it,” Lewis said briefly about the last shot.
Alabama travels to Clemson next Tuesday to take on the Tigers at Littlejohn Coliseum. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
“You just have to go back to work and regroup,” Curry said. “That’s the joy about basketball is it keeps giving, you have to get back to it and try to get better.”