The Alabama women’s basketball team battled to its first-ever win in Knoxville after defeating No. 11 Tennessee, 72-63, inside Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday night.

“I’m really proud of our team,” said head coach Kristy Curry.  “We came out with toughness and grit.  At times when they would make a run, we stayed together and stayed close to give ourselves a chance.  It comes down to balance, and when we have four in double figures we’re tough to beat.  I thought that Ashley Williams played like a senior should on the road and Jordan’s (Lewis) point guard play was unbelievable down the stretch.”

“We need this tonight for our resume. This was important and it’s not about Alabama versus Tennessee as of late, it’s about Alabama tonight getting a win.  We needed to play desperate and I thought that we certainly did.”

The Crimson Tide (16-10, 6-7 SEC) has now won its last four meetings against the Lady Vols (21-5, 9-4 SEC).  Before the win on Thursday night, the Tide had lost all 22 of its previous games in Knoxville.

Sophomore Jordan Lewis continued to stuff the stat sheet, pouring in a team-high 19 points (14 in the second half), while grabbing seven rebounds in the win.  Senior Ashley Williams tallied her 15th career double-double finishing the game with 16 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals.  Junior Shaquera Wade chipped in 12 points, while senior Hannah Cook added 10 points, four assists and four steals for the Tide.

Alabama started off the game slow only amassing eight points in the opening quarter and trailed by seven after the first 10 minutes of play.  The Crimson Tide trailed 24-17 with 4:34 remaining in the first half when UA made a push before the halftime break.  The Tide closed out the final minutes of the first half on a 12-0 run capped off by sophomore transfer Jasmine Walker draining a three right before the buzzer sounded to give Alabama the 29-24 advantage.  The halftime deficit for the Lady Vols marked only the second time this season that UT had trailed after the first 20 minutes of play.

Tennessee responded early on in the third quarter with a 15-0 run over 3:38 to regain the 41-33 advantage, before Cook kept the Tide close by knocking down a three-pointer to trim the deficit to five.  Alabama continued to keep the game within reach, while only trailing 49-44 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Tide began the fourth quarter on an impressive 14-0 run, with Lewis accounting for eight of the 14 points to put UA on top 58-49 with 3:52 left in the game.  The stifling Alabama defense did not allow the Lady Vols to score a single point in the fourth quarter until the 3:38 mark when they went 1-of-2 from the free throw line to cut the deficit to 58-50.

Alabama hit clutch free throws down the stretch to prevent Tennessee from getting back into the game.  The Lady Vols cut the lead down to five points twice in the final three minutes, however, the Crimson Tide had an answered every time.  The Tide hit all 10 of its attempts from the free throw line in the final 2:46 of the game to put the game out of reach.

The Crimson Tide finished the game 14-of-16 (88 percent) from the line, while holding the highly potent Lady Vols offense to just 35 percent shooting (24-of-68) from the floor.

Alabama outscored Tennessee 28-14 in the fourth quarter en route to its first win over an AP Top 25 team in its last 23 tries.

The Tide will return to action for Senior Day on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. CT to take on Auburn inside Coleman Coliseum. The game will air live on SEC Network.

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