TOLEDO, Ohio – The Alabama women's basketball team fell 74-59 to Toledo in the Women's National Invitation Tournament Sweet 16 on Tuesday at Savage Arena. With the loss, the Crimson Tide will end the season with an 18-15 record, while the Rockets move on to the quarterfinals with a 26-8 record.
Freshman Kaneisha Horn had a team-best 11 points. She was followed by senior Tierney Jenkins and junior Ericka Russell, who added nine points apiece. Jenkins collected a game-high 10 rebounds, while senior LaToya King handed out a game-best five assists.
"We knew, coming on the road, it would be a tough game," Alabama Head Coach Wendell Hudson said. "Toledo shot extremely well from the free throw line, and we did not convert on the attempts we had. Our usual scorers did not have the numbers they usually do, so that also hurt us. It is tough to win three games on the road, like we would have had to do, but I am still proud of this group. We needed to go out there and play tough tonight, and we did not do that as well as we needed to in order to win."
Toledo struck first with a pair of free throws 30 seconds into the game to take the early lead. From there, the teams traded baskets with neither squad leading by more than three points until the Rockets hit a shot from beyond the arc to take a 14-10 advantage at the 11:11 mark. Junior Alicia Mitcham hit a jumper on the ensuing possession, however Toledo would knock down another three-pointer on its next trip down the court for the 17-12 lead. The Tide responded with five unanswered points in less than 15 seconds to tie the game for the fifth time. The Rockets would grab on to the lead with another three with 9:27 remaining in the half and held on until a three-pointer from Russell gave Alabama the 28-27 edge with 2:38 to go. The Tide lead by as many as three, but a four-point swing down the stretch gave Toledo the 31-30 advantage heading into halftime.
The Rockets opened the second with a 7-0 run giving Toledo an eight-point lead, the largest of the game for either team to that point. Alabama trailed by at least six points over the next several minutes before the Tide gradually chipped away at its deficit cutting the Rocket lead to two as senior Varisia Raffington hit a jumper in the paint with 9:47 to go, setting the score at 49-47. From there, Toledo would go on an 8-0 run that included back-to-back three pointers. A jumper by freshman Jasmine Robinson with 4:10 remaining brought Alabama within three, 59-56, but the Tide would come no closer for the duration of the contest.
For the game, Alabama shot 42.6 percent, connecting on 26 of its 61 attempts, while Toledo went 23-for-53, hitting 43.4 percent. The Rockets had eight three pointers in the game compared to the Tide's three, and also capitalized on its trips to the free throw line as Toledo was 20-of-26 for the game.