TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama women's basketball (5-2) continued its success during the current home stand as defense led to quick offense for the Crimson Tide. 18 steals and 50 points in the paint pushed the Crimson Tide to a dominant 89-45 victory over Bethune-Cookman.
Alabama honored graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in game breaks throughout the contest, as Bethune-Cookman is an HBCU out of Daytona Beach, Fla.
"We were proud to be a part of that today," head coach Kristy Curry said of honoring HBCUs. "I appreciate everyone's support very, very much."
For the second game in a row, Alabama got out to a strong start on the boards. The Crimson Tide out-rebounded the Lady Wildcats in the first quarter by at total of 15-to-6.
The rebounds were important, but it was Alabama's active hands on defense that showed up to be the difference in the first quarter. The Crimson Tide ended the quarter on a 6-0 run thanks to three consecutive pick-pockets on the defensive end, making the score 23-10 after one quarter.
Jamya Mingo-Young led the way with three first half steals, propelling her to a 12-point half. She finished with 16 points, as she only played four minutes in the second half.
"I take pride in the defensive end, so I know when I'm out getting steals it's going to flow throughout the whole team," Mingo-Young said. "When I'm electric, I know my team is right behind me. That's what fuels me."
The Crimson Tide totaled 12 steals in the first half and turned defense to offense with 21 points off turnovers at the break. Reversely, Bethune-Cookman was only able to swipe a single steal and two points off turnovers through the first two quarters.
Alabama's bench had the opportunity to make an impact earlier in today's game because of starters' early foul trouble, with Khyla Wade-Warren and Taylor Sutton making their presence felt. Sutton showed her quickness with two steals and seven quick points going into halftime, and Wade-Warren did work down low, having six points and five rebounds.
Wade-Warren had an even stronger second half, as she nearly posted a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds in the game.
"Today I just saw the opportunity to just go... just be on go mode," Wade-Warren said. "My coaches and teammates always give me the opportunity and support me and make sure I'm encouraged. Once I hit one shot, it was just easy to tell myself that with my teammates and coaches it's easy to keep going."
"Really proud of Khyla," Curry said. "She really is improving and growing, she's an open book, great student of the game. I just love her presence and who she is trying to be."
The starting group reemerged for the opening of the third quarter, and they put points up in a hurry. The Crimson Tide posted a 6-0 run in under a minute at around the six minute mark of the third quarter, allowing Curry to get more experience for the depth of her team.
Alabama came out in fourth and sprinted for a 14-0 run, as the bench players got valuable play time.
"I thought we were able to rest our starters, but I thought there wasn't a let down," Curry said. "We've got to take more pride in possessions... I expect a lot of our bench."
The Crimson Tide finished with 43 points from its bench, which will help Alabama as it goes into matchups with Memphis and Houston this upcoming week. Five players entered the double-digit scoring category for Alabama, a display of Alabama's depth.
"We know that its about to get really real here on Tuesday night against a really good 6-1 Memphis team," Curry said. "Hopefully this past week of one day preps will jump start us into a really great Monday."