Tide falls to No. 5 Vols

Laura Owens

The Alabama Crimson Tide women’s basketball team fell to the No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers 74-67 in Coleman Coliseum on Thursday night.

Head coach Wendell Hudson started five different players for the game. About 15 minutes into the half, he replaced the new starters with the original five girls who have started the other games.

“I know everybody was second-guessing me from the standpoint of who I was starting,” Hudson said, “but we’re going to play people who are going to play hard. So that’s the group that was playing the hardest in practice.”

The Tide went into halftime trailing 37-31. Throughout the first half, the lead changed seven times. Towards the end of the half, Tennessee went into a full-court press, giving the Tide the opportunity for easy layups down the lane. However, the Vols were still able to keep their lead due to turnovers. The Tide had 15 turnovers in the half.

Sophomore Erika Russell, who had 12 points in the game, said the team went into halftime with their heads up, knowing they still needed to fight.

“We just talked about how we’re still in the game,” she said. “We can fight and stay in this game, and that’s what we did.”

Throughout the game, the team was able to keep up mainly by winning rebounds. For the game, they outrebounded the Vols 45-33, with 32 of those rebounds being defensive. In the SEC, Tennessee is ranked first in rebounds, with Alabama in second, each getting over 40 a game.

“It’s so late in the season that anything positive, we should take,” said senior Dedrea Magee. “It’s not like we lost by 20 or 30, and I felt like we all fought for it and played like a team.”

One of the starters, freshman Celiscia Farmer, ended the game 10-of-15 on field goals with the game-high 21 points and had one of three three-pointers for the team. Overall, the team’s shooting was much better than average, with the Tide making just over 45 percent of its shots.

In the second half, one of the biggest deciding factors was turnovers. The Tide had 24 turnovers, and the Vols were able to score 27 points off the Tide’s turnovers.

“I thought the turnover points Tennessee scored off our turnovers was the only negative point,” Hudson said. “We didn’t give up, did not back away.”

At the end of the game, the Tide tried to make a comeback, but by that point, there wasn’t enough time to have an effective run. Alabama also racked up fouls and got Tennessee into the double bonus quickly. Though the Vols had many free throw shot opportunities, they only made 11 of 24.

“My goodness, we were horrendous from the free throw line,” said Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt. “I’d like to know how many times they get in the gym and make 25 in a row. Not very often. They’re going to have to invest in that.”

For the game, Coleman Coliseum was adorned in pink, both on the outside of the building and inside. The lights outside had pink light bulbs in them, while the crowd on the inside supported breast cancer awareness with pink shirts and shakers.

Next up, the Tide faces Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark. with tipoff at 2 p.m. Sunday.