OXFORD, Miss. - The women's basketball team (11-14, 1-10 SEC) picked up its first Southeastern Conference victory of the season, holding on to beat Mississippi (12-13, 2-10 SEC), 52-47, at the C.M Tad Smith Coliseum on Thursday night. The win was also the Crimson Tide's first in Oxford since the 2002-03 season.
"With everything that has happened this season, this game really meant a lot and showed that if we stand together, we can be successful," said Alabama head coach Wendell Hudson. "You could tell by looking at the team that they knew we would get this done today. We learned how to play with a limited bench, only playing with seven people. This is a great win for us."
Junior Jessica Merritt led a balanced Alabama offensive attack with 10 points. She was followed by sophomore Khristin Lee with nine points and junior Meghan Perkins and sophomores Shafontaye Myers and Jasmine Robinson, who had eight points apiece. Both Perkins and junior Kyra Crosby had a team-leading seven rebounds.
The Rebels wasted no time scoring as sophomore Valencia McFarland grabbed the opening tip and drove straight to the hoop to put Mississippi on top quickly. From there, Alabama would go on an 11-0 run, holding the Rebels scoreless for nearly seven minutes. Myers drained a three-pointer with 11:57 on the clock, giving Alabama its first double-digit lead of the contest. The Tide continued to distance itself from Mississippi in the half, leading the Rebels by as many as 18 points. Alabama would head into the break with a 31-15 lead.
In the second half, the Tide remained in front by double-digits until the 8:51 mark when a jumper by freshman Danielle McCray put Mississippi within eight. The Rebels would soon take the lead, 42-40, behind the efforts of a 19-0 run. Alabama would go on to score six consecutive points, capped off by a fast break layup off the steal from Lee, to put the Tide in front 48-42 with 2:30 to play. Alabama would stay strong on defense, allowing Mississippi to score just two more baskets.
For the game, the Tide out-rebounded the Rebels 48-40, which included 25 offensive boards for Alabama. The Tide had a season-high 16 steals in the win.