Sunday, February 09, 2003
» Box Score
By Chris Woodfin
TUSCALOOSA - The University of Alabama women's basketball team brought their stingy defense to Coleman Coliseum on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately so did No. 16 ranked South Carolina, as the Gamecocks earned a 48-34 win in the battle of defensive wills.
The Tide (11-11, 1-8 SEC) held South Carolina (17-5, 5-4) to a season low 48 points, but USC was able to limit Alabama to a near program low 34 points. With the loss, Alabama has now dropped four straight home games.
For the game, Alabama shot just 25 percent from the floor (14 of 56) and were only 3 of 16 from the three-point line. The Gamecocks did not shoot the ball much better finishing the game at 31.5 percent (17 of 54) and just 3 for 20 from beyond the arc.
"The numbers speak for themselves," said UA head coach Rick Moody. "This was a game where neither team played well enough to win. I have to give South Carolina a lot of credit for doing some things defensively that prevented us from getting good looks for our perimeter players."
The Gamecocks broke open a close first half with a 12-3 run midway through the period that put them in front 22-13 with 4:57 left. USC held a seven-point, 24-17, edge at halftime that they extended to 11 points over the opening minutes of the second half.
Monique Bivins hit a three-pointer with 5:57 left in the game to close the Carolina lead to just six points but Alabama would get no closer as USC scored the game's final five points to earn the double-digit victory.
"I don't think the Alabama fans understand what a great job of defending that the Alabama team did against us today," said USC head coach Susan Walvius. "That was probably the best defensive effort against us all season long. They did a tremendous job of taking away the things that we like to do offensively."
In addition to cold shooting, both squads struggled with turnovers as South Carolina committed 22 for the game and Alabama ended the contest with 20 miscues. The much taller USC squad was able to dominate in the paint, outscoring Alabama 28-16 and winning the rebound battle 48-36.
Alabama was led by Katie Sipe and Jamilah Johns who contributed eight points apiece. It marked the first time since the 1990 season that the Tide had failed to have atleast one player in double-figures for a game. SEC leading scorer Jocelyn Penn led the way for the Gamecocks, collecting a double-double with 20 points and 10 boards. The conference's leading rebounder, Petra Ujhelyi contributed a Rodmanesque defensive performance with 15 rebounds, five blocks and zero points.
The Crimson Tide's schedule continues its stretch against top-ranked opponents, as UA visits Baton Rouge on Thursday night to face No. 4 LSU. Tip-off for the contest is set for 7:00 p.m. Following the LSU game, Alabama returns home for its final three-game homestand of the year.
Alabama (11-11, 1-8 SEC) 17-17 34
#16 South Carolina (17-5, 5-4 SEC) 24-24 48