Iona looks to avenge her NCAA Championship loss to No. 10 Alabama

Iona looks to avenge her NCAA Championship loss to No. 10 Alabama


For the second time in eight months, Alabama’s No. 10 and Iona will face each other on neutral court.

There won’t be much at stake this time around when Crimson Tide (4-0) and Gaels (5-0) tie Thursday in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

The last time the two programs met, the right to advance to the second round of the NCAA Championship was at stake when Alabama won 68-55. This time, the winner moves into the semi-finals of the ESPN Events Invitational against Belmont or Drake on Friday.

After Iona beat Northern Alabama 81-65 on Saturday to win her second game in as many days in the MAAC-ASUN Challenge, also held at Lake Buena Vista (near Orlando), veteran coach Rick Pettino said he doesn’t think there will be a retaliation factor. For the returning players on his team.

“It’s all about the execution,” he said.

“I feel like this is a great opportunity,” said newcomer Tyson Jolly, transferring SMU with an average of 16.0 points.

Nelly Jr. Joseph (16.6 points, 7.2 rebounds this season) is the only Gayle to start against Alabama in March and return in 2021-22. Main reserves Dylan van Eyck (12.0) and Ryan Myers (3.6) are also back, but Petino has specifically indicated that he wants to persuade Myers to attack.

Quinn Slaczynski’s move to Louisville, who averages 10.8 points, was making the difference for the Giles’ team.

Petino said: “The great thing about it being 5-0 is, if I can be objective, we’re not even close to our potential.

He added, “Anytime you have new players, it takes time. We are taking small steps to improve. The only common denominator that has been consistent is the way we defend all three… We’re doing a good job on the field in every game.” Approximately “.

Iona limited her opponents to 23.4% in shooting from outside the arc. That’s where Alabama usually excels, though, with Crimson Tide’s outside-of-the-arc percentage being just 31.6 this season, compared to 35.2 last year.

Petino said, “Alabama is like some of my team in Louisville. You can change parts, but you still have a great team. It’s their system.

“They won’t pay (many) from two points,” he added. “They’re going to the edge, they’re going to get obstructed and they’re going to shoot triples.”

Alabama has been idle since its 86-59 win over Oakland last Friday.

“We played the offensive game against South Dakota State (104-88 win), had a better defensive game against South Alabama (73-68 win) and now we finally have both sides tap the ball at the same time,” Tide coach Nate Oates said after the game. “If you want to be a top team, you want to be a top 25 team, you can’t just play one side of the ball.”

Alabama has three double-digit scorers this season who played in the previous encounter with Iona. They are Jaden Shackelford (19.5), Jahvon Quinerly (15.5) and Keon Ellis (14.5).

Both Joanne Gary of Alabama (lower leg) and Elijah Joyner (knee) of Alabama are dubious.

–Field Media Level

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