Moore's 21 points and 10 rebounds lead No. 1 seed Texas past No. 8 Alabama 65-54

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Aaliyah Moore missed most of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. She has tendinitis in the other knee.

Undeterred, Moore matched her career best with 21 points, had 10 rebounds and made a timely defensive play in the fourth quarter to help No. 1 seed Texas beat Alabama 65-54 on in a second round women's NCAA Tournament game.

“My team needed me today,” said Moore, who played 34 minutes after logging just one in the second half against Drexel on Friday. “It was kind of just a choice of being smart, knowing when I need to be out there and when I don’t. I just made sure I got a good night’s rest. I came early today, got treatment and was ready for the game.”

Texas (32-4) has its most victories since finishing 32-3 in 1987-88.

Freshman Madison Booker also scored 21 for Texas, which will face the Utah-Gonzaga winner in the Sweet 16 on Friday in Portland, Oregon. Booker wears No. 35 in honor of former Longhorn Kevin Durant, who was at the game, sitting behind their bench.

“That was nice,” Booker said. “He can give us lessons if he hears this.”

Said Moore, “Before halftime I turned around and was like oh, ‘hey, KD.’ We really do appreciate the support, and we always appreciate the shoes."

DeYona Gaston had seven of her nine points, and six of her seven rebounds, in the second half for Texas. Taylor Jones had four of the Longhorns' 11 blocked shots.

Jones left the game midway through the first quarter after falling and hitting the back of her head on the court while contesting a rebound. She went to the locker room but returned in the second quarter.

Sarah Ashlee Barker scored 17 for Alabama (24-10), a No. 8 seed, and Aaliyah Nye added 14. But Barker, guarded primarily by Moore, hit just 7 of 19 shots from the field. Nye, guarded by Shay Holle, was 6 for 18.

“Our kids went out today and really played so hard defensively,” Texas coach Vic Schaefer said. “Did a great job on two kids that I think are so good in Nye and Barker. You don’t do that without playing your heart out.”

Moore, who isn't known as a 3-point shooter, made one to beat the 30-second shot clock and give Texas a 45-32 lead with 3:39 left in the third quarter.

Early in the fourth quarter, she ran down Del'Janae Williams and blocked her fast-break layup attempt that could have cut the Texas lead to six.

“We talked about, before the game, you’re playing against a really tough, physical aggressive team,” Schaefer said. “Very athletic. And that’s the SEC. So you better play that way. That was my challenge to them. You better play athletic. You better play in the air. You better block shots, alter shots.”

Essence Cody, the 6-foot-4 freshman who scored a season-best 20 points against Florida State on Friday, was limited to six by a rotation of three Texas post players.

“They're just big,” Alabama coach Kristy Curry said. “They just run waves at you.”

Alabama had difficulty with the Longhorns' size in several areas. Texas had edges of 45-34 in rebounds, 23-13 in second-chance points, 34-22 in points in the paint and 11-2 in blocks.

“Obviously, you saw that we struggled with that,” Nye said. “They’re similar to the LSUs the South Carolinas that we have in the SEC. I think we just have to be tougher.”


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