UNA women’s hoops red hot in ASUN victory

UNA shoots 58% in 87-52 win over Bellarmine.
North Alabama women's basketball team defeats Bellarmine 87-52
North Alabama women's basketball team defeats Bellarmine 87-52(UNA Athletics)
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 7:50 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2023 at 11:50 AM CST
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FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - A strong defensive showing by the University of North Alabama women’s basketball team turned into a run-away 87-52 Atlantic Sun Conference victory for the Lions over Bellarmine at CB&S Bank Arena at Flowers Hall.

North Alabama took complete control of the game in the first quarter as the UNA defense forced four turnovers, blocked two shots, outrebounded the Knights 18-9 and held Bellarmine to 2-for-18 shooting from the floor.

UNA shot 54.8% for the half, to just 16.1% for the Knights.

The Lions held a 20-5 advantage at the end of the first quarter and pushed it to a 29-point advantage at the half at 43-14. It was 69-34 after three periods.

The 14 points that UNA held Bellarmine to in the first half represented the best defensive effort in a half by the Lions since holding the Knights to just 14 points in the first half of last year’s meeting in Louisville.

For the game, UNA out-rebounded the Knights, forced 23 turnovers, blocked six shots and held them to 26 percent shooting.

“I’m really proud of the effort that we had from the start,” said UNA head coach missy Tiber. “Our defensive intensity was really good. We wanted to play aggressive defense, and our offense is the best defense, pushing the ball and forcing mistakes. We did everything that we could have hoped to do tonight.”

UNA had four players score in double-figures, led by Hina Suzuki with 19 points. Jade Moore had 14, Cameron Jones and Alexis Callins had 11 and Skyler Gill 10. Gill added 11 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season and 11th of her career. She also blocked four shots, which gave her 115 in her two-year career, pushing her past Brittany Panneti’s mark of 113 to set a new UNA school record.

With the win, North Alabama improved to 6-7 for the season and evened its ASUN Conference record at 1-1. Bellarmine is now 4-11 overall and 0-2 in the ASUN.

The Lions host FGCU on Saturday at home. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m.