Senior Day a Success

Marnelle Garraud, Ciaja Harbison score 20-plus points each in defeat of Kentucky

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt’s Ciaja Harbison found Marnelle Garraud streaking down the court for a layup to open the game against Kentucky. Demi Washington drained a 3-pointer to score the final points for the Commodores.

It was a fitting bookend to a day when Vanderbilt women’s basketball celebrated its seniors.

Graduate guards Harbison and Garraud combined for 47 points as Vanderbilt used a half-straddling scoring blitz to pull away from the Wildcats in a 79-57 victory on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Gymnasium.

Vanderbilt (12-16, 3-11 SEC) embarked on a 24-2 run bridging the second and third quarters, including the first 14 points of the second half, to take control and move ahead of Kentucky (10-16, 2-12 SEC) in the SEC standings.

“I know it’s been a year full of adversity for our team, but that doesn’t define us,” Vanderbilt head coach Shea Ralph said. “I think our response to that defines us, and today they responded really well in the second half and I am just really happy for our seniors that we came away with a win.”

Harbison finished with a game-high 24 points on 8 of 17 shooting, five assists and four steals. Garraud scored 18 of her 23 points in the second half and was 9 of 17 from the field. It was the first time both have scored 20-plus points in the same game, and both finished with a game-high five assists.

Coming off a career-high scoring performance against Alabama, Vandy sophomore Sacha Washington had a season-best rebounding performance against Kentucky. Washington finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds for her second straight double-double.

The teams played a low-scoring first half, combining for 26 turnovers and missing 35 shot attempts. Sacha Washington helped put an end to a 7-0 Kentucky run in the first quarter by blocking two shots and then dishing a pretty bounce pass to a cutting Harbison for a layup to pull the Dores within 13-11.

After Kentucky took a six-point lead in the second quarter, Vanderbilt’s offense began to hit its stride. The Commodores ended the half on a 10-2 run to take a 24-22 lead with Harbison and Sacha Washington combining to score all 10 points in the run.

Vandy exploded out of the gates in the second half with 14 straight points to expand the run to 24-2. Garraud launched the outburst with three consecutive layups to start the third quarter. Garraud finished the quarter with 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting.

The Wildcats finally halted the run with a free throw by Amiya Jenkins, but Vandy’s offense didn’t slow down. The Dores outscored the Wildcats 28-13 in the third quarter for a 52-35 lead.

Vanderbilt’s lead peaked at 30 points midway through the fourth quarter. Demi Washington sealed her perfect 3 for 3 day from the field with a 3-pointer that concluded Vandy’s scoring and gave the crowd one last chance to salute the seniors.

Vanderbilt scored 26 points off 22 Kentucky turnovers and limited the Wildcats to 39 percent shooting (22 of 56). The Dores shot 46 percent (29 of 63), including 52.8 in the second half, and went 15 of 17 from the free throw line.

“I think you saw the two different teams we can be, and the resilient team that understands how important it is to work hard and communicate,” Ralph said. “All the things we talk about every single day in terms of our process. Those intangible qualities are so important and they separate the average and the good from the great and the elite.”

Senior Moment
Vanderbilt honored the team’s seniors before the game. Yaubryon Chambers, Demi Washington, Harbison and Garraud each received a framed jersey, including an action photo, after being escorted onto the floor by family members.

Chambers and Washington have been with the program for four seasons while Harbison and Garraud are in their first season as Commodores after arriving as graduate transfers.

Vanderbilt also recognized Kentucky seniors Robyn Benton, Blair Green and Adebola Adeyeye.

Shoeless Ryanne 
Vandy freshman guard Ryanne Allen played nearly a minute of the second quarter without a shoe. Allen lost her right shoe on the offensive end of the floor and slipped a bit in her sock as she tried to move. Allen tossed the stray shoe to the sideline and ran back on defense.

The Dores returned to the offensive end of the floor before the whistle finally blew for a stoppage of play. Someone threw Allen’s shoe back to her. She laced it up and remained in the game.

Player Notes
• Garraud has now scored in double figures in 12 straight games.
• It was the eighth straight contest that Harbison has scored in double digits.
• Sacha Washington reached double figures in rebounding for the 15th time in her career.
• Harbison had dished out at least five assists 14 times this season, while it was the third time that Garraud has accomplished the feat.
• The duo also have both finished with multiple steals in back-to-back outings.

Series History
Vanderbilt improved its lead in the all-time series with the Wildcats to 32-27, including 18-8 at home.

Up Next: Vanderbilt plays host to LSU on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network+) in Memorial Gymnasium.

Tickets: Students will continue to receive free admission to all home basketball games. In addition, single-game sales, mini-plans and group ticket options are available. To view the promotional schedule, click here.