The University of Alabama (1-0, 0-0) women’s basketball team opened the regular season Friday night at Coleman Coliseum against Florida A&M University (0-1, 0-0) of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with a decisive 60-44 victory. Although Bama shot only 44.1 % from the free-throw line (15-34), second year Head Coach Kristy Curry praised the aggressiveness of her team getting so many opportunities from the charity stripe. Guard Khaderja Young was successful on the only three free-throws attempts by FAMU.
Three Tide players led the offensive charge. Sophomore forward Ashley Williams recorded her sixth career double-double with 21 points and 11 (4-7) rebounds. She clicked on 8-10 from the field and 5-14 from the free-throw line. A trio of newcomers making their collegiate debut contributed to the win. Freshman guards Hannah Cook and Meoshonti Knight reached double-figures with ten points each. Center Diamante Martinez (5-3) and Knight (4-4) tied for second on the team with eight rebounds. Redshirt freshman guard Karyla Middlebrook, sidelined after seven games last year due to lingering hip injury, topped the assist column with five.
Alabama dominated in the paint with 32 points to 14 for the visiting Rattlers. The Tide defense forced 24 turnovers leading to 26 points. They allowed FAMU only 14 points off 19 turnovers. Bama was stone cold from the arc, 1-13, with Cook (1-7) the only player to convert an attempt. Both teams struggled from the field. FAMU was held to 27.3% from the floor on 18 for 66. Alabama shot 36.1% for the game on 22 of 61 attempts.
FAMU was ahead by six points just over a minute into the game but Alabama gained the advantage at 9-8 with 12:45 remaining before building a 12-point half time lead, 30-18. The Tide had an 18-point margin, the largest lead of the game in the second half. The rebounding edge was 55 (26-29) to 45 (20-25) in favor of the Tide. Junior forward Olivia Attila scored a team high 14 points (5-13) for the Rattlers. Four of her five made shots were from beyond the three-point line (4-9). Senior FAMU guard Taneka Rubin snagged nine boards and scored ten points.
The Tide now boasts a 17-2 home opener record in Tuscaloosa. Alabama hosts the 7th ranked (AP & USA Today Coaches Poll) and perennial power Duke University Blue Devils from the Atlantic Coast Conference on Sunday evening at Foster Auditorium. The game, airing on the SEC Network, will be called by Cara Capuano and Nell Fortner. Tip-off is 7 PM CT.
John Garcia Jr. contributed to this report.