Lewis, Alabama ladies win in return to NCAA tourney, prime UNC

Jordan Lewis had a career-high 32 factors, 11 rebounds and eight assists to assist seventh-seeded Alabama beat No. 10 seed North Carolina 80-71 within the first spherical of the ladies’s NCAA Match

SAN ANTONIO — Jordan Lewis had a career-high 32 factors, 11 rebounds and eight assists to assist seventh-seeded Alabama beat No. 10 seed North Carolina 80-71 on Monday within the first spherical of the ladies’s NCAA Match.

“The world noticed at the moment why Jordan Lewis is the very best level guard within the SEC,” Alabama coach Kristy Curry mentioned. “She shares and cares and finds methods to impression us in so many alternative classes.”

It was a triumphant return to the NCAAs for the Crimson Tide (17-9), who have been enjoying their first recreation within the match since 1999. The Crimson Tide made eight straight journeys to the NCAAs from 1992-99 that included a run to the Closing 4 in 1994.

“After I got here to Alabama I informed coach we’d get again on the massive stage,” Lewis mentioned. “If you get a second like this, you may’t miss a chance. … Don’t miss an opportunity to be nice. Right now we couldn’t miss the chance.”

Alabama constructed a 29-19 lead halfway by way of the second quarter behind Lewis earlier than the Tar Heels (13-11) minimize it to 31-29 with 3:09 left earlier than the half. The Crimson Tide responded scoring 10 of the following 12 factors to take a 41-31 lead on the break. Lewis had 5 factors throughout the closing burst and completed the primary half with 18.

“Jordan Lewis was a girl amongst youngsters at occasions,” North Carolina coach Courtney Banghart mentioned. “They actually affected us stepping into the paint with the dribble.”

North Carolina trailed by 10 going into the fourth quarter earlier than slicing it to 65-60 on a 3-pointer by Stephanie Watts with 6:46 left. Ariyah Copeland had a three-point play on the opposite finish to start out a 11-2 run and put the sport away.

Watts led the Tar Heels with a season-high 29 factors, hitting seven 3-pointers.

“It’s March, nothing’s straightforward. I give credit score to Alabama for with the ability to convert on our lack of on-ball presence,” Watt mentioned. “I’m going to do no matter I can to win this ballgame. Clearly, we got here up quick, however my mentality was I’m simply going to go away all of it on the market. That is my final recreation in a Carolina uniform.”

Lewis completed wanting the varsity document of 33 factors in NCAA match play set by Yolanda Watkins in opposition to Duke in 1995 in a quadruple-overtime recreation.

The senior guard additionally moved into fourth on the varsity’s all-time assists record with 509, passing Shelly Pyles (1984-88).


Alabama got here into the sport figuring out it needed to maintain its personal on the boards in opposition to North Carolina, which was tenth nationally in rebounds per recreation. The Crimson Tide did extra than simply maintain its personal with a 46-33 benefit in rebounds.

“We come from a league the place rebounding is important,” Curry mentioned. “Children have been enjoying in opposition to lengthy, athletic and massive all yr lengthy. I assumed our youngsters pursued the ball.”


Banghart has so much to sit up for with the freshmen class accounting for practically 44% of the factors and 50% of the assists this season whereas enjoying half the minutes.


Curry has now taken three completely different groups to the NCAAs after main Purdue (2000-06) and Texas Tech (2011, 13) into the match


Alabama faces the winner of the Maryland-Mount St. Mary’s recreation on Wednesday within the second spherical.

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