The UAB women’s basketball team dropped their home opener to the Belmont Bruins 72-58 on Saturday afternoon. UAB was led in scoring by freshman guard Miyah Barnes with 20 points.
The first half just killed the Blazers. Belmont took advantage of the small size difference inside and killed UAB in the paint. At the half, Belmont had an advantage in the paint of 24-10. I will admit, the Belmont bigs should have been called for many 3 second violations, but that is besides the fact. Belmont was using just a quick one step move to beat UAB down low. The typically very good UAB defense just got broken down. UAB shot 32.3% in the first half while going 60% from 3 point range (3-5). Belmont, on the other hand, shot 54.3% from the field and 55.6% from 3 point range (5-9). UAB was out rebounded 28-14 in the first half. Coach Norton said “we just came out and spotted them 20 at half. We have to learn from these type of games. With as many young kids as we have, they have to understand that when you line up, you are lining up against kids that are as good or better than you every night out. So you have to be ready to compete. This team really wants it”.
The team that UAB can be came out during the second half. They played much more physical, they went after every ball, they denied the interior. If this part of the team shows up every game, this team could be a real threat in the conference. After half time, UAB only allowed 8 points in the paint. Norton said “we were just going to front them and get some help defense”. UAB held Belmont to just 13.3% shooting in the third and 23.1% in the fourth. Belmont was only able to hit one three in the second half. UAB did a really good job of going inside in the second half and wound up with 28 points in the paint. UAB eventually closed the lead to just 9 points, but ultimately fell just short of making a huge comeback.
On another very positive note for UAB, freshman guard Miyah Barnes looks almost unstoppable. Oh did I mention she’s a freshman. On Saturday, she dropped 20 on Belmont going 9-18 from the field and 2-5 from 3 point range. Norton praised Barnes saying “she is going to be a very special player for UAB. I told her if she works hard and remains coachable she could be one of the best point guards ever at UAB”. I noticed a lot of Barnes’s points came off of the dribbling and penetrating. I asked Coach if he likes for her to drive like that and he said “I just let her do her thing. She just has to get a feel for it at this level, because driving in high school is different than driving in college.I am not going to be too hard on her in games because I do not want to take away her aggressiveness. She’ll learn when she gets too deep and needs to kick it”.
There was one injury to note in this game. Freshman forward from Spain, Angela Vendrell, rolled her ankle before half time. Coach Norton said it was just a mild sprain and she will be good to go. I’m surprised this wasn’t the only one. Both teams had bodies flying all over the floor in what was a pretty physical game.
If UAB can come out on fire like they did in the second half they can dominate some games. They just need to adjust maybe a little quicker than they did this game. I like they way the defense played the post in the second half and the help was very quick to the ball. If UAB can start hitting some more free throws, it’ll help round out the game for them.
The next game is Tuesday night in Bartow against High Point at 7:00 pm. Come out and support a very good ladies team. Go Blazers!