Dec. 29, 2012
HONOLULU - Alabama forced the University of Cincinnati women's basketball team to a season-high 22 turnovers en route to a 58-47 win during Friday's opening game at the Bank of Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine Invitational.
Alabama's pressure defense erased Cincinnati's early first-half lead after the Bearcats led by as many as four at several points during the first 10 minutes. UC committed just four turnovers during the first 9:31 of the contest, but `Bama's switch to the full-court press eventually forced UC to six more turnovers and allowed the Crimson Tide to build a 12-4 run. The spree turned a four-point Bearcat lead into a four-point Alabama lead.
The Bearcats cut the lead back to two with 1:51 left in the half thanks to a full-court pass from Dayeesha Hollins (Cincinnati, Ohio/Winton Woods/Michigan) that found Aleysha Lovett (Newark, N.J./Malcolm X Shabazz) alone for a fastbreak lay-up. However, `Bama answered with a traditional three-point play after Jasmine Robinson made the bucket and the ensuing free throw to put the Crimson Tide up 27-22 at the half.
UC was unable to keep up with the depth of the Alabama bench during the second half, out-scoring UC 31-25. A total of 12 `Bama players saw action in the game with nine playing at least nine minutes. The depth allowed Alabama to continue its pressure defense, eventually forcing UC to 12 turnovers in the second half. Entering the contest UC had finished with 12 or fewer turnovers in five games this season.
A three from Alexis Durley (Houston, Texas/Andy Dekaney) provided UC a quick spark to start the second half, closing the Alabama lead to 29-28 at the 18:06 mark. However, the Crimson Tide went on to score six unanswered points to stretch the lead back to seven.
UC again worked the lead down to three points this time thanks to a jumper and three from Lovett, but Alabama's defense stepped up to force four straight Cincinnati turnovers. The 7-0 run gave Alabama a 46-36 lead with 8:56 to play. The Bearcats never cut the lead to fewer than six the rest of the way as Alabama finished the victory with a 58-47 advantage.
UC finished at 34 percent (16-47) from the floor while Alabama shot 40.7 percent (22-54). The Crimson Tide rebounded from shooting 35.5 percent in the first half by making 11 of 23 (47.8 percent) shots in the final 20 minutes.
The Bearcats finished with a 37-31 edge in rebounding but committed the 22 turnovers compared to 11 for Alabama.
Lesha Dunn (Toronto, Ontario/Trinity Valley Community College) led Cincinnati in scoring with 11 points. Hollins reached double-figures for the 22nd straight game, adding 10 points. Lovett dropped in 10 on 3-for-6 shooting off the bench.
Tiffany Turner (Marlton, N.J./Cherokee) lead the team in rebounding with eight. Dunn finished with seven while Lovett pulled down five.
Alabama was led by Robinson and Kaneisha Horn, who each finished with 12 points. Alicia Mitcham added 11 points off the bench while Horn grabbed a game-high nine boards.
The Bearcats continue action at the Bank of Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine Invitational with a contest tomorrow against host Hawai'i at 5 p.m.