SAN ANTONIO - Jordan Lewis had a career day to lead seventh-seeded Alabama to an 80-71 victory over 10th-seeded North Carolina in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament on Monday in the Alamodome.
Lewis logged a near triple-double with a career-high 32 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. She was one-point shy of tying the program's single-game scoring record in an NCAA tournament game, set by Yolanda Watkins in the quadruple-overtime contest against Duke in 1995.
Lewis was joined in double figures by Hannah Barber (14), Jasmine Walker (13) and Ariyah Copeland (11). Copeland led all rebounders in the game with 12 boards for her 11th double-double of the season, while Megan Abrams added eight points, six assists, five rebounds, one steal and one block.
For the game, the Crimson Tide outrebounded the Tar Heels 46-33 and knocked down 46.0 percent of its attempts from the floor compared to North Carolina's 37.1 percent. Alabama also shared the ball extremely well, with 21 assists on 29 made baskets.
How It Happened
Alabama led for nearly the entire game with the only exception coming over a one-minute span in the first quarter. A three from Abrams at the 6:31 mark put the Tide in front, 6-2, and gave Alabama a lead it would not relinquish for the duration of the game.
The Tide led by as many as nine in the opening frame and held a seven-point advantage following the first 10:00 of play, 22-15.
Alabama extended its lead out to double digits with 6:33 to go in the second quarter off a three from Lewis, 29-19. North Carolina used a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to two, however the Tide pushed it back out to 10 by the half, 41-31.
The Tar Heels made a run late in the third to pull within five, but Alabama outscored them 7-2 down the stretch for the 60-50 advantage heading into the final frame. With 3:15 to go, the Tide took a 14-point lead, its largest of the game. North Carolina pulled within seven late but was unable to get any closer by game's end.
News and Notes
- Lewis was the first player in the 2021 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament to reach the 30-point plateau. She also moved up to No. 4 in career assists, surpassing Shelly Pyles (1984-88). Lewis now has 509 for her career.
- Ironically, North Carolina was the team to knock Alabama out of the 1999 NCAA Tournament, which was the Tide's last appearance in the Big Dance prior to this year.
Alabama will face the winner of the (2) Maryland vs. (15) Mount St. Mary's matchup in Wednesday's second round. Time and network are to be announced.