Commodores advance; Day One photo gallery

The 2006 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament tipped off on Thursday afternoon in North Little Rock, Arkansas. In the nightcap, Vanderbilt advanced by defeating Alabama 84-62. VandyMania's Whitney D was on the scene and provides these images from day.

"Carol's Court" had something to cheer about as Carol Ross's Lady Rebels defeated the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks 94-64.

"Big Red" must have felt blue after the game, but signed autographs and posed for photos with young fans anyway.

As fans waited in line for autographs from Pat Summitt during halftime, out came the camera phones.

The South Carolina Gamecocks fell to the Auburn Tigers 64-48 in the second game of the afternoon, so Cocky didn't get to celebrate with his confetti in a can.

After a two-hour break, basketball resumed at Alltel Arena when the evening session began.

While the Mississippi State/Florida game was in progress, the National Commodore Club distributed leis to Vanderbilt fans in preparation for the Alabama-Vandy game.

Former Vanderbilt star Carolyn Peck, who is now head coach at Florida, wasn't entirely happy with the officiating, but her Gators held off a scrappy Mississippi State team 98-83.

Finally, the Commodores took the court to battle the Crimson Tide. The first half was a see-saw battle, with Vanderbilt holding a slim one-point lead at 38-37 at halftime. Junior post Carla Thomas scored 15 points for the game, including a pair of free throws in the first half.

Since Vanderbilt students are on spring break this week, some alums helped fill in the gaps in the pep band.

At halftime, Jackie Cowan Ransom was honored as the "sec Great" from Vanderbilt.

Candice Storey, who played basketball for Vanderbilt and who is now the NCAA compliance officer for Vanderbilt, was Charlie Mattos' guest during halftime of the radio broadcast.

Freshman guard Jennifer Risper provided a huge boost off the bench for the Commodores. In 18 minutes of action, she scored eight points, including two 3-pointers, and dished out nine assists with no turnovers.

Freshman guard/post Tina Wirth came off the bench to score 17 points. She also had four assists and only one turnovers. In all, 42 of Vanderbilt's 84 points were scored by players coming off the bench.

After a close first half, in the second half the Commodores gained the upper hand, then broke the game wide open. With five minutes left, Vanderbilt led by 25 points. The Vandy fans in attendance were loving it, but almost all of the rest of the crowd decided that it was time to call it a night.

Former Vanderbilt star Ashley McElhiney, now Director of Basketball Operations at Alabama, studied the game from the Alabama bench.

As junior point guard Dee Davis left the court after the victory, she applauded the pep band.

Junior guard Cherish Stringfield scored 11 points in the game, including three 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the second half, to put the wind into the Commodores' sails. After the game, she was interviewed for the TV broadcast.

With the victory, Vanderbilt advances to the quarter-finals, where they'll meet the Georgia Bulldogs on Friday night at approximately 8:50 p.m.

Photos copyright 2006 by Whitney D for

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