The UAB women’s basketball team beat Troy on the road 81-77 Sunday afternoon. For all purposes, this was a pretty big upset. Going into the game, Troy was averaging 88.7 points per game, which was seventh in the NCAA.
In all six of their wins they had scored at least 90 points, eclipsing the century mark twice. They ranked first in the NCAA in rebounds per game at 49.9. Per one mid-major poll Troy was ranked #11 in women’s Division 1 basketball.
UAB and Troy went back-and-forth for most of the entire game — no team had a double-digit lead. UAB’s largest lead was by eight early in the first half, and Troy’s largest lead was only seven in the fourth.
The breakdown by quarter was also very telling of how close this game was. The first and third quarters went to Troy 16-13 and 24-19. UAB was able to take the second and fourth 26-21 and 23-16.
Neither team shot the lights out, but UAB had a strong performance from inside the arc against Troy’s bigger players. UAB went 27-of-55 (49.1 percent) from the field and 9-of-29 (31 percent) from 3-point range.
For Troy having the bigger players, UAB was able to keep it close inside. Troy shot 30-of-80 (37.5 percent) from the field and only 6-of-26 (23.1 percent) from 3-point range.
Surprisingly, the rebound numbers were very close. UAB was able to grab 40 rebounds, while Troy grabbed 44. However, Troy was able to grab 22 offensive rebounds, which lead to 21 second chance points.
Coach Norton said, “I was happy with the effort. They are much bigger than us. We have to continue working on boxing out and we have to get the big kids ready to go as we get into conference play”.
Turnovers plagued both teams as UAB forced 20 turnovers, while Troy forced UAB into 27. Troy did really well in changing defenses quickly within a couple of possessions. The biggest problem for UAB was getting trapped just across the timeline.
Norton said, “If we were to see this 10 games from now we would be okay. We have a lot of young players out there and Troy is a senior dominated team. I put Miyah out there for 39 minutes and that’s a lot of pressure. They are just going to get better and learn not to get in trap positions. At times we looked really good against it too. The guards vision will get better too.”
UAB got down late in the fourth, but was able to climb back in the game thanks to some timely 3-pointers by none other than Deanna Kuzmanic and Rachael Childress.
UAB was down one with 33 seconds left when Coach Norton took a time out and drew up a beautiful play. Janeka Williams, the lone senior who has not gotten much playing time, drove the lane drawing out the two big girls underneath and Kara Rawls was left standing wide open underneath for an easy lay up.
Then UAB was able to get a stop and a rebound underneath. Janeka hit one free throw and missed, but got her own rebound and Kara was fouled, sealing the win.
Coming off of the bench Janeka was able to give some quality minutes and help break some of the press. Coach Norton said that was exactly what he had drawn up and that they had been executing a few of those throughout the game. He said it showed how locked into the game this team was.
Players of the Game
I say players because there were three that stood out. Coach Norton shook the starting lineup by inserting Rachael Childress and she was UAB’s leading scorer. In 39 minutes she scored 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting, while going 4-of-12 from 3-point range.
Deanna Kuzmanic has been a constant for this team as she continued in this game. She also played 39 minutes and scored 16 points on 6-of-17 shooting, while going 4-of-12 from 3-point range.
Miyah Barnes, a freshman point guard who has carried most of the ball handling duties, did pretty well with the trap and controlling the game. She also played 39 minutes scoring 11 points and going 3-of-5 shooting. She had 4 assist with 5 turnovers. Again, she is young and will learn.
An honorable mention I would like to point out is Micah Scheetz. She got the game going for UAB, scoring the first few points. She ended up playing 25 minutes and scoring 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting. She is starting to figure out where and when she can be the aggressive driver, and it is starting to pay off. There was a couple times where she drove and missed an open player, but her vision on the floor is starting to get better. Conference USA is going to have a heck of a problem with Micah and Miyah slicing up the lane.
UAB returns to Bartow on Wednesday playing another in-state team in South Alabama. The game tips at 1 p.m., so go take a lunch break and watch this great team hopefully get another win.