Jan. 2, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Even while reeling off a long series of victories, the Vanderbilt women's basketball team still didn't have that signature win that would allow the Commodores to grab national attention.
Now they do.
With Jasmine Lister scoring 24 points and propelling a second-half comeback, Vanderbilt upset No. 19/18 Georgia, 66-58, on Thursday night at Memorial Gym in the SEC opener for both teams.
The victory stretched the Commodores' winning streak to nine games and pushed them to 12-2 overall as they head to South Carolina on Sunday. Vanderbilt hasn't a lost a game since Nov. 21, when the Commodores lost at Duke.
Lister -- who finished 8-of-12 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range -- scored 10 points in the span of less than five minutes late in the second half while fueling a 17-5 run that allowed Vanderbilt to flip a 47-43 deficit into a 60-52 lead with 3:40 to go.
Christina Foggie, the SEC's leading scorer, also hit a key 3-pointer during the game-changing surge. Foggie finished with 11 points, and was the only other Commodore in double figures.
"They are our senior leaders, and we look up to them," said sophomore Morgan Batey about Lister and Foggie, the lone seniors on the roster. "When they hit big shots, it ignites the rest of us."
Batey finished with seven points and three rebounds despite being limited to just 11 minutes of action due to foul trouble.
Vanderbilt has now won nine of the past 12 meetings against Georgia, including five straight in Nashville.
In Thursday's game, the Commodores trailed by as many as seven points in the second half before surging back to capture the victory in the hotly-contested game, which featured five ties and 10 lead changes.
Vanderbilt was down 49-45 when Lister stepped up and scored all seven points during a 7-0 run. She hit perhaps the biggest shot of the night -- a 3-pointer that cut Georgia's lead to one -- with 7:56 to play, and followed that up with a jumper that gave Vanderbilt the lead for good. She then capped off her spree with another 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 53-49 with 5:52 to go.
"She's got ice water in her veins," said head coach Melanie Balcomb.
Thursday's matchup featured strength against strength, with Vanderbilt's high-powered offense (which entered the night averaging 80.9 points per game) pitted against a Georgia defense that was ranked third in the nation (allowing just 50 points per game).
Early on, Georgia's defense seemed to have the upper hand, as the Lady Dogs pestered Vanderbilt into 11 first-half turnovers, helping Georgia take a 25-24 lead into the locker room. But the Commodores solved Georgia's pressure in the second half and committed just six turnovers while flipping the game around.
Vanderbilt's bench played a pivotal role in the win, outscoring Georgia's reserves 16-5. "That says a lot about our depth," said Balcomb. "It's players coming off the bench and playing with a sense of urgency."
Lister said the Commodores played with more energy in the second half.
"We picked up the defensive intensity and communication," said Lister.
Neither team shot the ball effectively during the low-scoring first half. Georgia made just 11-of-30 attempts (36.7) from the floor, and Vanderbilt -- which leads the SEC in field goal percentage -- was 10-of-25 (40 percent).
Still, the first half was tightly-contested, with four ties and five lead changes. Georgia's largest lead of the half was four points, and the Commodores' largest was three.
Lister was about the only Commodore to find a rhythm in the opening 20 minutes. She was 3-of-4 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, while scoring a team-high eight points. Her 3-pointer on Vanderbilt's final possession of the half cut Georgia's lead to 25-24 at the break.