ST. THOMAS, USVI – The Alabama women’s basketball team (3-2) fought back from a 15-point deficit, but the comeback would come up just short as the Crimson Tide fell 77-76 to Old Dominion (1-4) in game one of the 2011 Paradise Jam on Thursday. Senior Ericka Russell scored 29 points, one shy of her career high, to lead all scorers.
“We played as hard as we could for 30 minutes in this game, but it was not enough,” said Alabama head coach Wendell Hudson. “We were down 15 points and fought to get back into it. There were a couple wide-open layups we missed that certainly hurt us. The game could have gone either way at the end. We should have won this basketball game, but I can’t say enough about the effort that we gave to fight back.”
Old Dominion led 9-5 early until a pair of threes from Russell put Alabama on top, 11-9, at the 16:50 mark. From there, the Lady Monarchs embarked on a 16-2 run over the next five minutes, taking as much as a 15-point lead. The Tide fought back late in the half, however, outscoring Old Dominion 19-7 in the over the final five minutes to cut its deficit to two, 46-44, heading into the break.
Russell led all scorers over the opening 20 minutes, tallying 17 points, 12 of which came from three-point range.
Alabama came out in the second with the same intensity it ended with in the first, and soon tied the game at 50. From there, a four-point swing in favor of the Tide put the crimson and white up 54-50 with 15:34 remaining. The duration of the game saw six ties and nine lead changes, but the most crucial would come with 1.2 seconds left in the game as the Lady Monarchs’ Rebecca Allison connected on a jumper to give Old Dominion the one-point win.
For the game, the Lady Monarchs shot 57.4 percent from the floor, including 68.2 percent in the first half, while the Tide went 35.7 percent for the game. Alabama forced 28 Old Dominion turnovers that resulted in 23 points and had 16 steals compared to the Lady Monarchs’ six.
The Tide will play its second game of the tournament on Friday when it takes on Seton Hall at Noon CT. Alabama will then close out play on Saturday when it faces Louisiana Tech at 2:15 p.m. CT.
Fans can follow along with a live web stream of all three games in addition to listen live on the Crimson Tide Sports Network. To access, please visit RollTide.com and click on the women’s basketball schedule page.