Alabama Women Down Ole Miss
"Today is all about great energy and great effort," said Alabama Coach Kristy Curry. "Energy never fails and our kids have worked so hard. To get this first win in SEC play, I'm so incredibly proud of them because they've done everything we have asked for them to do, and I know I say that over and over, but this week has been incredible."
Four Alabama players turned in double-digit scoring performances, as the Tide set a season-high for points in a regulation game and the most points against an SEC opponent since Feb. 21, 1999, when Alabama had 102 against Vanderbilt. Senior Shafontaye Myers (28) and junior Daisha Simmons (23) combined for 51 points. Freshman Ashley Williams scored 14 points, while junior Briana Hutchen chipped in 13.
Simmons, who shot a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line, also added eight rebounds and seven assists. Myers shot 10-of-19 from the field, including 4-of-7 on three-pointers, and swiped four steals.
Tied 9-9 at the 15 minute mark in the first half, the Tide offense came alive and outscored Ole Miss 39-25 the rest of the half to take a 48-34 lead into halftime. Alabama continued its offensive run in the second half. The Tide shot better than 53 percent from the field in the second half and led by as much as 25 points late in the game.
Next up, Alabama will host Auburn on Thursday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. CT in Foster Auditorium.
Here are comments from Alabama principals:
Head Coach Kristy Curry
"Today is all about great energy and great effort. Energy never fails and our kids have worked so hard. To get this first win in SEC play, I'm so incredibly proud of them because they've done everything we have asked for them to do, and I know I say that over and over, but this week has been incredible. The leadership from these two (Shafontaye Myers and Daisha Simmons) and Nikki Hegstetter has been phenomenal. I'm happy to see their hard work pay off. When you ask a team to continue to do the right things, and they do it, you're going to have success. To see that pay off today for their energy and their effort this week has been really great. They all deserved what they got today because they earned it."
On the play of Shafontaye Myers:
"She has some great senior leadership and really wants to have the ball in her hands. She's just so good at her counter moves. You take one thing away, she'll counter it. That's what great perimeter players do; they counter what you take away. She's done a great job with that and that's something she has worked hard on. The thing I'm most proud of today is her work defensively. She's been in trouble for a lot of things defensively sometimes, but to get her to play both ends of the floor is just as important. Offensively and defensively, I'm really proud of her energy and her effort."
On the alumni being back in town, in particular the 1994 NCAA Final Four team:
"It was an honor and a privilege to have them back on campus. Not only having the 1994 team, but also a group from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s. We want our kids to understand what it's like. A lot of them weren't even born in 1994; that was 20 years ago. It's so important to respect the past and embrace it. They represent something bigger than themselves. Last night was really great for those kids to hear from a lot of former players about how special this time is. It should be the best time of your life. You should make the most of those four years. It's about relationships, so it's really special. I loved watching our kids interact. You could just tell that they are starting to get some of the things that we as coaches tell them, but when they hear from somebody that has been in their shoes, it makes a big difference."
On facing Auburn on Thursday:
"We're just taking things one at a time. For Auburn, we are going to have to handle the press. They have press for 40 minutes. It's something that Ole Miss has kind of helped us vault into the week with because they press hard, too. Our turnovers are what we are going to have to take in today. We have to take really good care of the basketball on Thursday night. It's something we have continued to work on. It has been our bye week and whether or not the kids realize it, we are excited about the opportunity on Thursday night to defend our home court and it's another game. It's just the next one. That's what our focus is on."
Shafontaye Myers, Guard
On what sparked her 21-point first half:
"I was just having fun. We met with some of the alumni last night. It really touched me. I just wanted to embrace it and go out and have fun."
On the team's defensive play:
"We just weren't going to let up. They were talking about their point guard all week, how good she was. I just wanted to show up and show her that we're good too. We just got it done."
On bouncing back from a loss:
"I'm really impressed with my team. They don't get down on themselves, and they've stay positive all week. We lost two in a row, but we didn't let that affect us. We came in, we worked hard and we did what we had to do on both ends of the court every day at practice. We just went hard and gave it all we had. We were relentless from the loss up until now."
Daisha Simmons, Guard
On how they put together a complete game:
"Everybody bought into what we're doing. We met with the alumni, and to just meet with them and hear their stories really touched us. We wanted to just come out and play a great game, and we want to continue to play great from here. When we hit shots like we did, it makes a big difference. I told Taye (Shafontaye Myers) today that if she hit shots like that we can beat anybody in the country. Then, if Khadijah (Carter), Brittany Jack, and Sharin (Rivers) come in and do what they do, there's no telling what we could do this year."
On the upcoming matchup with Auburn:
"It's just another game. We're just going to take it like it's another game and get the win."
On scoring 93 points as a team today:
"On a good day, there's no telling what we could do. We just enjoyed playing today."
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