Tide tops Tigers in thriller

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Cyrus Ntakirutinka

The Alabama women’s basketball team improved to a 10-14 record after defeating SEC rival Auburn in a 55-53 thriller. Head coach Wendell Hudson was pleased to win the hard fought game.

“That basketball game was a fight,” Hudson said. “It was an old fashioned fight, with both teams slugging each other for a while. We made a run. They didn’t quit. We didn’t quit. I thought our team defense for the entire game was as good as we played all year. I thought it was a good Alabama/Auburn contest. That’s a good rivalry. That’s the way it should be.”

The Crimson Tide survived a late second half surge by Auburn as 5-foot-4 point guard LaToya King stole the ball from 6-foot-7 center KeKe Carrier. King ran the clock out after the strip to seal the Tide’s victory.

“I was trying to get a stop,” King said. “All I did was play solid hard defense. I just took it. It was in front of my face. All I did was take it to the other end of the court.”

Alabama had a great deal of success on offense behind strong contributions from King, Tierney Jenkins and Deedra Magee. Alabama had little trouble distributing the ball as Magee accounted for nine of the Tide’s 14 assists.

“Just moving the ball with quick passes and ball faking,” Magee said. “The post [players] was setting really good screens. The first half they were in man and then went to zone, so the guards on the wing started to knock it down. Pretty much, when we play together as a team for 40 minutes, we can beat pretty much whoever.”

The Tide went on a scoring run to go up by 12 points thanks to the play of Jenkins. The 6-foot junior also had a strong presence on defense with four steals.

“She played 38 minutes, and one of those minutes she didn’t play, she fouled out,” Hudson. “The team was competitive. We knew what Auburn was going to run, and she was right there. That meant that she was thinking about the preparation for this game.”

Jenkins led the team with 17 points and 13 rebounds on her way to recording her 10th double-double of the season.

“I just wanted to do whatever it took to win,” Jenkins said. “The coaches told me where I could get some easy shots from. So I came right back and did exactly what they said and got three easy buckets.”

Alli Smalley led the Tigers with 17 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

Alabama will turn its sights next on the Georgia Bulldogs Sunday in Athens, Ga.