FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) — Allie Craig Cruce is coming home.

After spending four years in Tuscaloosa playing basketball for the Crimson Tide, Cruce will be joining the University of North Alabama’s (UNA) women’s basketball roster as a graduate transfer.

The former Lauderdale County High School standout was a two-time AHSAA 3A Player of the Year and led Lauderdale County to a pair of state championships in 2014-15 and 2015-16, as well as a runner-up finish in 2017.

“It was just a very unexpected turn of events and a whirlwind couple of days,” said UNA head coach Missy Tiber. “When Allie Craig wanted to know if we wanted her on the team, I didn’t hesitate — ‘Of course!’ She knows high-level basketball and is the exact type of player we seek out. I know she’s excited to make her last year special in front of her friends and family here at home.” 

After graduating in 2018, Cruce joined the Crimson Tide roster as the No. 14 ranked wing by HoopGurlz ESPNW. She played in all 31 games as a freshman and went on to play in over 100 career games over her four-year career with the Tide.  

During the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament in Cruce’s senior season, she started all three games the Tide played in, including wins over Auburn and nationally-ranked Georgia, and scored double figures in all three.

Cruce said she’s excited to be using her final year of eligibility back in the Shoals.

“I’m super excited to be coming home and playing for UNA and Coach Tiber. I’m just really grateful to her and the staff for giving me the opportunity, and I’m super stoked to get to play with all the girls. I love Florence, I love the people, and I can’t wait to represent this University in the purple and gold. It’s actually full circle — the first time I ever picked up a basketball was at a UNA Lions Camp, so finishing out my career here is just special. I’m excited to play in-front of my hometown crowd and the people that have loved and supported me throughout my entire career. I just can’t say enough how excited and grateful I am. All glory to the good Lord above. See y’all in Flowers and Roar Lions!” 

Allie Craig Cruce

The UNA Lions will open their season on Monday, November 6 against UT Southern at CB&S Bank Arena inside Flowers Hall.