ALABAMA ADVANCES TO WNIT QUARTERFINALS

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Courtesy: Alabama Athletics Communications

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Junior Hannah Cook led four in double figures with 18 points on 70 percent shooting to lift the Alabama women’s basketball team to a 72-64 victory over Tulane in the third round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament on Thursday at Coleman Coliseum. With the win, the Crimson Tide (22-13) advances to the quarterfinals for the second time in program history, and first time since it became a 64-team field, and will play at Georgia Tech on Sunday, March 26 at 1 p.m. CT.

“I appreciate our community,” said Alabama head coach Kristy Curry. “What a great crowd on a Thursday night and we hope that everybody that was here will come back and see us in the future. We really appreciate them; so many coaches within the department, athletes and departmental personnel. It was great to see so many faces in the crowd, and again we really appreciate everyone’s support. I’m really proud of our team for finding a way to win. Each one of them.”

Joining Cook in double figures were fellow juniors Ashley Williams (15) and Quanetria Bolton (13) along with freshman Jordan Lewis (13). Williams and sophomore Shaquera Wade each chipped in a game-high eight rebounds, while Lewis finished with a game-high six assists. Freshman Ashley Knight added three blocks to bring her season total to 87. The Green Wave was led by junior Kolby Morgan, who scored a game-high 26 points, and senior Leslie Vorpahl, who chipped in 10 points, three rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Alabama got off to a hot start with back-to-back baskets in a 60-second span to lead Tulane (18-15), 5-0. The Tide pulled in front by 10 at the 5:17 mark, but the Green Wave would cut it down to four after scoring the next six points. From there, Alabama would outscore Tulane, 10-4, to close out the first and lead 23-13 at quarter’s end.

The Tide continued to lead throughout the second quarter and didn’t allow the Green Wave to get any closer than eight. Alabama would pull in front by as many as 12 and held a nine-point advantage heading into the locker room at the half, 33-24.

Tulane scored on consecutive possessions to start the third, cutting the Alabama lead down to six, but Bolton put up the next eight points in the game to push the Tide’s lead out to 14, 41-27, at the 7:33 mark. Alabama held a double-digit lead throughout the rest of the period and led, 52-40, heading into the final quarter.

The Tide extended its lead to 17 early in the fourth, but the Green Wave used an 11-2 run to make it an eight-point game, 59-51, with 4:57 to play. The two teams went back and forth for the duration, trading buckets until time expired. Tulane would come no closer than six and Alabama would hit nine of its 10 free throws over the last 4:23 to seal the victory.

“We talked after the game about what we could take away and continue to learn from tonight, and I thought they had some great points,” added Curry. “It was composure and little things as we went throughout each one. I thought that down the stretch, we had great composure against a very well coached Tulane team. My hats off to Leslie Vorpahl for a great career there, just an outstanding leader, you can tell. They are just a very well coached team and Lisa Stockton does a great job. We were fortunate to have a few more plays that we made.”

For the game, Alabama shot 48.9 percent (23-47) while Tulane finished at 43.1 percent (25-58) from the floor. The Tide outrebounded the Green Wave, 39-27, and had 16 assists on 23 made baskets.

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