GREENVLLE, S.C. (AP)Jada Walker scored a career-high 24 points and 14th-seeded Kentucky won its second straight game in the Southeastern Conference Tournament, roaring back from a 10-point third-quarter deficit to knock off sixth-seeded Alabama 71-58 Thursday night, earning a berth in Friday’s quarterfinals against Tennessee.
The Wildcats, who knocked off 11th-seeded Florida on Wednesday, have won six straight SEC tournament games and coach Kyra Elzy is 7-1 in three appearances. Kentucky became the second-lowest seed (seventh) to win the tournament a year ago.
Kentucky’s two tournament wins are its first back-to-back victories since December. The Wildcats (12-18) had lost seven straight games to end the regular season.
Aaliyah Nye hit a jumper with 7:13 left in the third quarter to put the Crimson Tide (20-10) up by 10, 36-26, but Maddie Scherr hit a jumper and, following a steal by Walker, hit a 3-pointer to halve the deficit. Walker scored nine points in the final five minutes of the third quarter and the Wildcats trailed by just a point heading into the final period.
With Robyn Benton in foul trouble, Elzy turned to Eniya Russell off the bench and the junior responded with a pair of clutch, high-arcing 3-pointers and a dozen points as Kentucky pulled away by outscoring Alabama 27-13 in the fourth quarter.
Walker hit 11 of 16 shots from the field, knocked down both of her 3-point attempts and hit 8 of 9 from the foul line. She also dished out seven assists and collected six steals. Scherr finished with 19 points, four assists and six blocked shots.
Nye finished with 15 points and was the lone Alabama player to reach double figures.
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