UAB women’s basketball sixth-year head coach Randy Norton notched his 100th career win as the Blazers downed Alabama State 62-47 on Sunday afternoon in Montgomery.
The win improved UAB to 9-1 on the season, matching the best start in program history set during the 1994-95 campaign.
“To reach this mark means that we have a great coaching staff, have outstanding players and I really appreciate everything that our team and staff does for our program,” Norton said. “You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with and I have been doing this a long time. I am proud of this team and my staff.”
Katelynn Thomas and Deanna Kuzmanic both finished the game in double figure points with 16 and 15, respectively. Kuzmanic has recorded double figures in every game this season, while Thomas has recorded them in nine consecutive contests.
Miyah Barnes fell two points shy of tying a season-high with 17 points on 5-of-9 (.556) game from the field, her highest offensive output since the season-opener against Appalachian State.
A bucket by Thomas opened the scoring for the Blazers, who led by six, 13-7, at the first media timeout of the contest. UAB took a seven-point advantage, 18-11, into the second quarter on the backs of Thomas and Barnes, who led all scorers with six points each in the opening frame.
Kuzmanic notched the first basket of the second quarter on a 3-pointer from the right corner, to stretch the UAB lead to 21-11. A steal by Imani Johnson and a dish to Barnes gave UAB its largest advantage of the first half, 26-13, with just over six minutes to play until intermission. A free throws from Barnes with six seconds left in the half gave UAB a 32-22 lead to take into the locker room at the break.
The Blazers opened the third quarter red-hot on the offensive end, outscoring Alabama State 6-2 in the first two minutes of the second half. UAB took its largest lead of the game to that point with just under six minutes to play in the third quarter, 42-27, on a driving bucket from Kuzmanic. A converted and-1 with 46 seconds left in the third by Barnes helped UAB take a 12-point lead, 52-40, into the final period of the game.
Alabama State opened the fourth quarter on a 5-0 run to cut the UAB lead to six with 9:17 to play in the game. And and-1 from Kuzmanic stopped the scoring from the Hornets, and sparked six unanswered points from the Blazers and began a 10-1 run to close the game, giving UAB its ninth victory of the season.
“The thing that I am most proud of is that on a day that we did not shoot the ball like we typically do our girls were able to dig in in the second half,” Norton said. “Today was just a reflection of how life and basketball goes. There is going to be days where it does not go your way, but the girls still found a way. Different girls stepped up and that is a sign of a championship team.”
UAB returns to the hardwood to take on Coppin State on Dec. 20 at 4:00 p.m. as part of the Hilton Garden Inn FGCU Classic in Fort Myers, Fla.
Women’s basketball season tickets are on sale by purchasing the 2018-19 Gold Card for $65. The Gold Card includes access to home baseball and softball games in addition to all 10 of women’s basketball’s remaining home contests. Contact the UAB Ticket Office, (205) 975-UAB1, for more details.
For more information on the UAB women’s basketball team, follow the Blazers on Twitter (@UAB_WBB), on Instagram (UAB_WBB) or like them on Facebook (Facebook.com/UABWBB).
Player reactions from Coach Norton’s 100th win:
Deanna Kuzmanic: “Coach Norton instills so much trust and confidence into our team and it feels great to be a part of helping him achieve this milestone. We are blessed by his leadership every day and we are lucky to call him our head coach.”
Rachael Childress: “Congratulations Coach Norton. We are so thankful for all of the dedication and hard work you have put in to make our program a championship program. We could not ask for a better leader. Thank you and we love you.”
Miyah Barnes: “It means a lot to help coach get his 100th win. He deserves everything he is getting and we are tremendously thankful to have him as our coach. He is really changing lives on and off the court. How could you not love him? Congratulations coach.”Tagged with: 100 DI