By Jordan Hutchinson Special to The Tuscaloosa News
BLACKSBURG, Va. — For the second time this year, Alabama and Virginia Tech’s basketball teams faced off in the postseason. The first time, in the NCAA tournament, Alabama’s men took out Virginia Tech, 86-83. On Sunday afternoon, a much different result.
The Crimson Tide were outclassed by Virginia Tech in the quarterfinals of the WNIT, 74-67. The loss drops Alabama to 20-14 overall and ends its season, but the Crimson Tide earned its third 20-win season in this century.
“The senior class, that’s extremely upset in that locker room right now, left Alabama a whole lot better than they found it,” said Crimson Tide head coach Kristy Curry. “With back-to-back 20-win seasons and so many firsts, they have laid the foundation for future generations in our program.”
Alabama was led by sophomore forward Jasmine Walker, who scored a team-high 16 points, while grabbing eight rebounds. Senior forward Ashley Williams racked up a double-double, her eighth on the year.
Over the last five minutes in the second quarter, Alabama went on a 16-5 run, giving it a one-point lead at the half. In the third quarter, though, the Hokies outscored the Crimson Tide by 10, giving them an insurmountable lead.
“Just credit to Virginia Tech, I thought they had four in double figures that did a really nice job spreading the floor today like we knew that they would. We just couldn’t get stops at critical times and critical moments,” Curry said.
On the way into Blacksburg, it appears as if the Crimson Tide had quite a rough journey. Curry says that the team stayed in two separate hotels an hour away after the team bus was hit three times en route.
“We were hit three times in one bus, everybody’s fine though and we’re good. It was minor, everybody is safe and fine. No excuses we just tried to make the most of okay and thankful everybody was okay yesterday,” she said.
The win for Tech pushes it to 22-13 on the season and into the semifinals of the WNIT. Virginia Tech’s 22 wins are the most since 2003-04, when the Hokies lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Guard Taylor Emery had a game-high 19 points on 12 shots, while freshman Aisha Sheppard scored 17 on as many shots.
Redshirt-junior guard Rachel Camp had 17 points on just seven shots, as she made 13 of her 14 free throws from the charity stripe on Sunday. Her teammate, forward Regan Magarity had a double-double, scoring 12 points while securing 10 rebounds.
Virginia Tech will await the winner of the St. Johns-West Virginia game, and the game location is still to be determined.