TUSCALOOSA,Ala. - The Alabama women’s basketball team (8-20, 1-12 SEC) will play its final contest on the regular season as the Tide travels to Nashville, Tenn. to face the No. 23 ranked Vanderbilt Commodores (21-7, 10-3 SEC). Tipoff is set for Sunday, March 2 at 2:00 p.m. in Memorial Gym. Mick Gillispie will once again call the action on CTSN.
Vanderbilt leads the all-time series, 22-11, and has owned the Tide in the recent past. VU has won five consecutive over Alabama and have been winners in nine of the last 10 against UA, including a 40-point win over the Tide last year in Nashville, Tenn. The last Tide victory against Vandy came on Feb. 8, 2004, an 81-69 win over the Commodores in Tuscaloosa. Alabama has never won in Nashville as VU is 14-0 all-time. The two teams last met earlier in the season where the Commodores handed the Tide a 92-47 loss. Stephany Smith is 0-4 in her career against Vanderbilt.
Jessica Mooney scored 14 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead No. 25 Vanderbilt over Arkansas 63-50 last Thursday night. Despite 18 turnovers, the Commodores (20-7, 9-3 Southeastern Conference) shot 8-for-12 on 3-pointers to maintain their lead and ultimately pull away late in the second half. With a layup at the 4:27 mark of the first half at Arkansas (Feb. 21, 2008), senior Liz Sherwood became the 29th member of Vanderbilt’s 1,000-point club off an assist from freshman Jence Rhoads. Sherwood finished the game with 10 points, moving into 27th place all-time at 1,006 career points, just ahead of current graduate assistant coach Caroline Williams.
Vanderbilt notched its 20th victory of the season on Thursday, Feb. 21, at Arkansas. The Dores have won 20-or-more games in all six seasons under Coach Balcomb, and have a total of 22 20-win seasons overall (including nine in a row and 16 of the last 17). During the off-weekend, the Commodores clinched third place in the SEC. A win by Tennessee and loss by Auburn guarantees that Vanderbilt will be seeded third in the upcoming Southeastern Conference Tournament. The 2008 Tournament will mark the fifth consecutive year that the Commodores will play in the latest time slot. Vanderbilt was the six seed in 2004 and 2006, and the three seed in 2005 and 2007.
Freshman Varisia Raffington has taken advantage of SEC play. The newcomer has improved her overall play by pouring in 4.9 points per game. Against Ole Miss Raffington recorded a career-best 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting in 22 minutes of action. In the last three games Raffington has ranked third on the squad with 7.0 points per game while shooting .455 from the floor. She has averaged 16.7 minutes over that span.
Alabama will look to go on a run in the SEC Tournament on March 6 at the Sommet Center in Nashville. Alabama looks to be the 12th seed and will play the 5th seed in game number three at 6:30 p.m. If play were to start today the Tide would face the Georgia Bulldogs in the opening round.