Jan. 23, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Junior Daisha Simmons made several key second-half shots, but none more important than the last, hitting a layup with three second left on the clock to give women's basketball a 57-55 win over No. 9/8 Kentucky at Memorial Coliseum on Thursday. The victory was the first in Lexington since 2002 and the first win on the road against a top-10 team for the Crimson Tide since it beat eighth-ranked Old Dominion, 79-68, on Dec. 5, 1998.
Alabama (9-10, 2-4 SEC) was led offensively by Simmons, who had a game-high 21 points. Sophomore Nikki Hegstetter recorded a game-best nine rebounds, while junior Bri Hutchen provided 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Kentucky (15-4, 3-3 SEC) was led by senior Samarie Walker and junior Bria Goss, who combined for 32 points.
For the game, the Tide shot 39.2 percent (20-51), while the Wildcats were 37.9 percent (22-58) from the floor. Alabama also out-rebounded the taller Kentucky squad, 39-37.
Freshman Ashley Williams connected on a layup one minute in to put the Tide on the board first, but Kentucky would respond on the ensuing possession to even the score. The game remained tied or in the Wildcats' favor until Alabama scored four unanswered points to lead 10-9 at the 11:54 mark. The Tide led for just over six minutes until a 7-0 run for Kentucky, all coming from Goss, gave the Wildcats the lead back with 5:32 to go in the first. Kentucky led by as many as three late in the half, but a three-pointer from junior Brittany Jack tied the game up at 27-27 heading into the break.
The Wildcats opened the second half on a 12-4 run, 10 of which were scored by Walker, to take an eight-point advantage at the 14:33 mark. Alabama wouldn't back down, however, and used a 16-2 run to lead 47-41 minutes later. Kentucky gradually chipped away at its deficit and eventually tied the game with 12.9 seconds remaining, following a pair of free throws from junior Jennifer O'Neill. From there, Simmons dribbled the ball around the perimeter, waiting for the perfect time to make her move. With six seconds left, she drove to the left side of the hoop, used the glass and connected on the final shot.
Alabama returns home this weekend when it hosts Georgia on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 2 p.m. CT in Foster Auditorium. The game will be broadcast by CSS with Matt Stewart and Joe Ciampi calling the action.
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