Super Soph Williams Leads Tide Women's Win

Led by a career-high 29 points and 10 rebounds from sophomore Ashley Williams, the Alabama women’s basketball team downed Alabama A&M, 75-44, Wednesday night at Foster Auditorium. The win was the fourth in a row for the Crimson Tide, which stands at 5-2 on the season, while the loss drops the Lady Bulldogs to 0-4.

“First and foremost, we really appreciate our crowd,” said Alabama Coach Kristy Curry. “To see all the folks come out the night before Thanksgiving, we are really thankful for our crowd. Especially to see all the other athletes in the crowd. It really shows the support within our department. To look up there and see those football guys means a lot, and we appreciate it. I was really proud of our team the second half and how we got some easy baskets and were really aggressive.”

The double-double was the third of the season and eighth of Williams’ career. She also recorded 20-plus points for the fifth time in seven games. Junior Nikki Hegstetter chipped in eight points and seven rebounds for the Tide, while Alabama A&M was led by senior Brittney Strickland with 17 points.

For the game, Alabama shot 50.8 percent (31-61) and limited the Lady Bulldogs to 32.7 percent (18-55) of their attempts. The Tide outscored Alabama A&M 52-14 in the paint and also outrebounded the Lady Bulldogs, 45-28.

The Tide got off to a hot start, which included five unanswered points from Williams less than a minute into the game. Alabama continued to distance itself from Alabama A&M and led by 13 after freshman Hannah Cook knocked down a three-pointer at the 12:35 mark. From there, the Lady Bulldogs went on a 9-0 run and eventually cut the Tide down to two with 4:57 remaining in the period. Alabama scored eight of the final 11 points of the half to head into the locker room with a 32-25 lead.

UA connected on a pair of old fashioned three-point plays at the beginning of the second half to extend its lead back out to double digits, which it would hold for the duration of the game. The Tide would go on to lead by as many as 31 points.

Next up, Alabama heads to Connecticut for its final road game of the non-conference schedule when it faces Quinnipiac at Mohegan Sun Arena in the second leg of the 2014 Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge. The game is slated to tip off at 10 a.m. CT and can be seen online or on the WatchESPN app.

Alabama Coach Kristy Curry Opening Statement:

“First and foremost, we really appreciate our crowd. To see all the folks come out the night before Thanksgiving, we are really thankful for our crowd. Especially to see all the other athletes in the crowd. It really shows the support within our department. To look up there and see those football guys means a lot, and we appreciate it. I was really proud of our team the second half and how we got some easy baskets and were really aggressive.”

On her happiness about seeing other players score in the second half:

“We wanted to get the ball inside. Ashley (Williams) did a great ball of moving the basketball. If you take one thing away, it’s great to see balance. That’s what we saw this weekend. It was great to see some assistance for her.”

On the younger players scoring too:

“In the first half, our bench let us down a little bit and just didn’t seem as focused. We came back in the second half and did a better job. We were able to get the ball inside and outside. They just did a better job of being who they are in the second half.”

#20 Ashley Williams, Forward On if this week of basketball has given her a lot of confidence: “Yes, but I can be better. We are going into some tough games these next couple weeks. We can always get better as a team.” On the team’s play in the second half: “It was about being aggressive. In the first half we went on a quick run and then started dropping down, so at half time we figured out what we needed to pick up as individuals and as a team.”

Nikki Hegstetter, Forward

On having a difficult first half on offense to a better second half on defense:

“Coach is telling us all the time how if you’re on offense, you’re on defense, and I think that really happens a lot. Ashley and I are like “Thing 1” and “Thing 2.” When I see Ashley and she is open, it’s going to Ashley. That helps a lot too. Seeing that she is open and she will finish it. It’s a confidence booster.”

On the confidence that came out of the winning streak from this weekend:

“It was a definite confidence booster, especially going on the road and getting three wins against quality teams. That brings our confidence up coming back, and we need to continue to bring it to Foster. We did that tonight, especially in the second half. These are games that we are going one at a time, so we are going to get one at a time. Coach Curry always says, ‘If it looks big after midnight, you haven’t done anything.’ At midnight, it’s putting it away and looking at our next game.”

Alabama A&M Head Coach Semeka Randall

On her team’s play overall:

“I thought in the first half we played pretty solid. I didn’t do all the studying for us because I don’t think we are in our best shape right now, and the biggest thing we lack is mental toughness as a team. Our unawareness of realizing that No. 20, who is a great player, had 29 points, and I keep telling our players you have got to have some awareness of what’s going on in the game. They’re always searching and looking for us to give them the answers. One of those types of things you have to come together as a unit and players out on the floor have to have a conscious effort and know where Ashley (Williams) is at on the floor. She did a phenomenal job. We knew they were going to pick on us in terms of when we went to our zone and when high/low. It’s pick your poison. We knew that they don’t shoot the threes particularly well, so it was just one of those things we tried to take away from them.”

On the start in tonight’s game:

“It was not bad, but it was not great. You want to walk out of the gym gaining some respect when you play these kinds of games right here, and if we would have put together the game we had in the first half, in the second half, I think we would have walked out here with a little bit more respect and us feeling good about ourselves. We know these types of games are very difficult to play, but it gives you a benchmark on where you’re at and where you need to go.”


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