GREENVILLE, S.C. – Shaquera Wade poured in a career-high 26 points and scored her 1,000th career point in Alabama’s 74-57 victory over Vanderbilt in the first round of the women’s basketball Southeastern Conference Tournament on Wednesday afternoon inside the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
The Crimson Tide (14-16) advances to the second round and takes on No. 6 seed Auburn on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.
“We’ve talked a lot about how it’s a brand-new season,” head coach Kristy Curry stated. “We have a great opportunity in front of us this week and we’re one of those teams that if you have a great March you can control your own destiny. I was really proud of our kids today. We had great balance, we were really aggressive, and I thought we were the tougher team. Those are things we can always control with our energy and I was really proud of them.”
Wade finished 9 of 17 from the floor while also pulling down nine rebounds. Jasmine Walker was two points shy of tying her career high after tallying 22 points on 8 o 10 shooting, including knocking down all three of her 3-point attempts.
Cierra Johnson earned her third double-double in the last four games with 13 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Ariyah Copeland also chipped in 10 points and three blocks.
The Crimson Tide led the whole game and jumped out to a 16-11 lead after the first 10 minutes.
Alabama started the second frame strong with a 6-0 run to go up 22-11 and force a Vanderbilt timeout. The two squads battled back-and-forth when Wade scored five straight points to close out the half and give UA the 32-20 lead.
Alabama led by as many as 20 in the third quarter after Walker hit a three to make the score 48-28 with 4:36 to go. The Commodores managed to trim the deficit to 56-43 heading into the fourth and final quarter.
The Tide opened the fourth with a 7-0 spurt to push the lead back up to 20 points with just over seven minutes remaining in regulation. Alabama controlled the ball down the stretch on its way to the 74-57 victory.
UA dominated the painted area by outscoring the Commodores 42-28 down low and winning the rebound battle, 39-31. Alabama shot 53.8 percent (28 of 52) for the game including 50 percent (5 of 10) from behind the 3-point line.