Junior Coco Knight scored a career-high 18 points, while fellow junior Hannah Cook added 16 to pace the Alabama offense in a 65-57 win over Tennessee on Thursday in women’s basketball action at Coleman Coliseum. The victory was the Crimson Tide’s (16-10, 4-9 SEC) second in a row over the Lady Volunteers (16-10, 7-6 SEC), marking the first time Alabama has claimed back-to-back wins over Tennessee in program history.
“I just love the fact that we were able to be pretty consistent on the offensive end, rebound the basketball consistently and consistently get stops,” said Alabama Coach Kristy Curry. “I thought in the third quarter when they made their run, we never folded. In the past, we’ve allowed ourselves to play not to lose instead of play to win, so it’s good to see the growth and the ability to finish games. I’m really happy for our kids. Every single day they just go back to work. Being persistent and positive is important when you’re in this league, and I thought our kids have tried to do that.”
Junior Quanetria Bolton and freshman Jordan Lewis nearly joined Knight and Cook in double figures as Bolton added nine points and Lewis eight points. Lewis also tied her career high in assists with eight while adding seven boards. Junior Ashley Williams finished as the team’s leader in rebounds with 11. The Lady Vols were led by redshirt junior Mercedes Russell, who scored a team-high 17 points, and redshirt senior Schaquilla Nunn, who had 15 points and 15 rebounds.
Alabama put up the opening basket of the game and, following a brief tie after the next bucket from Tennessee, led for the entire quarter. The Tide pulled in front by as many as six and held a four-point edge, 15-11, at the end of the first.
Tennessee used an 8-2 run over a span of 2:26 in the second to take its first lead of the game. The two teams traded baskets over the next several possessions, however Alabama would outscore the Lady Vols, 7-2, to close out the frame and lead by four at the half, 30-26.
The Tide scored five of the first seven points in the third quarter to take a seven-point advantage at the 8:34 mark and remained in front until a late run by Tennessee put the Lady Vols on top by one point. Knight knocked down a jumper just before time expired to put the Tide ahead, 44-43.
Alabama would go on to outscore Tennessee, 21-14, in the final frame with Knight and Cook combining for 17 of those 21 points.
For the game, Alabama shot 35.2 percent (25-71), while Tennessee was 36.7 percent (22-60) from the floor. The Tide outrebounded the Lady Vols, 53-38, 22 of which came on the offensive glass for Alabama.
Next up, the Tide hits the road for back-to-back away games, its final two of the regular season. First up is Auburn on Monday at 6 p.m. CT.