Williams Leads Tide Women To Opening Win

The Alabama women’s basketball team won its 2014-15 season opener by a score of 60-44 over Florida A&M on Friday evening in Coleman Coliseum. Sophomore Ashley Williams recorded the sixth double-double of her career to pace the Crimson Tide with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

The game was the first the Alabama women’s basketball team played in Coleman Coliseum since it moved back in Foster Auditorium at the end of the 2010-11 season. The Tide is 17-2 when opening the season in Tuscaloosa.

Williams was joined in double figures by freshmen Hannah Cook and Meoshonti Knight, who added 10 points apiece. The Rattlers were led in scoring by junior Olivia Atilla with 14 points and in rebounding by senior Taneka Rubin, who had nine boards.

For the game, Alabama shot 36.1 percent (22-61) from the floor, while limiting Florida A&M to 27.3 percent (18-66) of its attempts. The Tide outrebounded the Rattlers, 55-45, and outscored Florida A&M 32-14 in the paint.

The Rattlers scored six points in just over a minute to take the early lead in the contest, but Alabama would go on a 17-2 run over the next 10 minutes to distance itself from Florida A&M. The Tide led by nine or more for the duration of the half and took a 30-18 advantage into the locker room at halftime.

Florida A&M used a 12-6 run out of the break to pull within six, but a three-pointer by Cook at the 11:10 mark put the Tide back in front by nine. Alabama outscored the Rattlers 13-6 to end the game.

The Tide continues its three game home stand on Sunday when it hosts No. 7/7 Duke at Foster Auditorium. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. CT on the SEC Network with Cara Capuano and Nell Fortner on the call.

Head coach Kristy Curry:

“It’s nice to start the season with a win. It was definitely ugly at times, but I’m proud of our kids for finding a way. Our young players got some quality minutes, so I think we’ll just continue to improve with each game. We’re excited to kick off the season with our men and support their program. I appreciate everyone coming out tonight to support Alabama basketball.”

On the game tonight:

“We have to be able to shoot the ball better. The thing I liked about tonight was how much we got to the foul line. Anytime you can get there 30-plus times, that shows you’re being aggressive and doing some good things. We just have to convert. Secondly, we have to knock down looks. There were a lot of positives - we got some great looks, we outrebounded them by 10, and got to the line.”

On the rebounding in tonight’s game:

“We outrebounded them by 10. We had 26 offensive rebounds, that’s effort too. I love the effort. We just have to be able to finish plays and make better choices. A lot of positives - Karyla Middlebrook, Diamante Martinez, Hannah Cook and Meoshonti Knight are all freshmen. So you saw four freshmen play the majority of the minutes, and that’s going to help us down the road and future years. As Hannah said, we need them to play a lot older than they are. We have to be wiser and do some things a little differently. I liked their energy, their effort and ability to create shots.”

Ashley Williams, Forward:

On playing in Coleman Coliseum:

“I enjoyed it a lot, coming into a big atmosphere. Hopefully we can come back again and play here.”

On how the team picked her up when she was down:

“I got the energy from them, and then the coaching staff telling me to shake it off, go do it over again and just refocus.”

On struggling with free throws:

“I just need to get in the gym and shoot more free throws. If I miss one, go out and refocus. Just forget about the last one.”

Hannah Cook, Guard:

On her success of her first game:

“It was really awesome, especially in Coleman. That was a great atmosphere, and we had a good crowd. It was awesome.”

On if her class can make a difference on the team:

“Yes, I do think our class can make a big difference on this team. Just team effort, really. We just can’t act like freshmen. We need to act mature and grow up fast.”

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