Defending pressure drives Alabama past Gardner-Webb

Kristy Curry’s Alabama women’s basketball team looked to be strong and quick against a less talented team after a four-game outing against outstanding competition at home.

It did just that en route to his 89-60 win over the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs at the Coleman Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.

“I thought we did a really good job by having a good first quarter and second quarter,” said Curry. “The third and fourth weren’t exactly up to our standards. […] I found the minutes everyone got today really valuable.”

At the end of the first quarter, the Crimson Tide held an impressive 25-6 lead – with six points in the quarter being the least they’re allowed to do all season.

It wasn’t just bad shooting from the field for the Bulldogs, either. Alabama forced 11 turnovers in the first quarter, resulting in 13 Crimson Tide points — more than half of its total in the first quarter.

Alabama applied pressure defensively by executing a diamond press — a zone full-court press in a 1-2-1-1 formation designed to capture and force lob passes for easy steals and layups. The impact of the press can be seen directly in the box score, with 30 Alabama points derived from turnovers.

“In terms of the identity of this team, I think we want to build up our defence.” said Curry. “[The press is] something I think we’re still trying to discover the identity of. Based on scouting, based on how many games in how many days and little things like that. We can keep getting better.”

The Crimson Tide continued its pressure in the second quarter, again forcing the Bulldogs to 11 turnovers, bringing the total to 22 by halftime. By the end of the game, Alabama forced 27 in-game turnovers.

“It’s really a team effort to apply pressure,” senior guard Megan Abrams said. “If there is a good trap that gives time to shoot. […] I think whenever everyone’s bought in and we’re sharing the ball and getting steals, that brings the energy and makes us want to keep going harder.

Seven different Alabama players recorded an in-game steal and four recorded at least three steals — Abrams, Sarah Ashlee Barker, Hannah Barber, and Karly Weathers.

As the Crimson Tide continues its season after going 4-2, it will travel en route to Macon, Georgia to play Mercer, whom Alabama defeated at the Coleman Coliseum last season. This game will begin at 6:00 PM CT.

See also:

Alabama women’s basketball beats Gardner-Webb, 89-60

Abrams’ final shot lifts the Alabama Women’s Basketball over Wake Forest

Alabama Women’s Basketball drops first game in the Bahamas 93-86 against No. 17 Utah

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