Jan. 16, 2014
OXFORD, Miss. - Four days after generating a big upset, the Vanderbilt women managed to avoid being the victims of one.
The No. 24/25 Commodores, who stunned Tennessee on Sunday, survived a scare Thursday night and used a strong finish to down Ole Miss, 80-74.
Christina Foggie scored 20 of her team-high 28 points in the second half as the Commodores improved to 4-1 in the SEC (15-3 overall). Vanderbilt has now won three straight games and 11 of its past 12.
Foggie finished 9-of-14 from the floor and was 3-of-6 from 3-point range. Vanderbilt -- which ranks first in the SEC and second in the nation in field-goal percentage -- shot 57 percent from the floor (32-of-56).
Valencia McFarland had 28 points for Ole Miss (9-9, 0-4) and Tia Faleru had 20. Jasmine Lister finished with 17 points and Morgan Batey added 11 to help the Commodores grind out the win in a contest that wasn't decided until the final two minutes.
"It wasn't easy," said head coach Melanie Balcomb. "But that's OK. In the SEC, it's not going to be easy. This was a game we needed."
By posting the victory, Vanderbilt prevented history from repeating itself. Two seasons ago, the Commodores followed up an upset of Tennessee by losing their next game to Georgia. Vanderbilt, in fact, lost three of its next four games after downing Tennessee during the 2011-12 season.
But the Commodores avoided a letdown Thursday, thanks to the play of the seniors, Lister and Foggie, and some clutch work by freshman Kylee Smith. She scored all nine of her points in the final 4:40 while helping Vanderbilt turn a three-point lead into a 10-point cushion down the stretch.
"I like her aggressiveness," said Balcomb.
Ole Miss was on fire in the first half, hitting 17-of-25 shots (68 percent) from the floor and carrying a 38-37 lead into the locker room. Vanderbilt also shot the ball effectively, making 16-of-29 shots in the half.
The Commodores ran out to a quick 9-2 lead, but Ole Miss, fueled McFarland and Faleru, charged back with a 28-14 surge to take a 30-23 lead. The Commodores whittled the deficit to one point at halftime after scoring on their final two possessions of the first half, including a buzzer-beating jumper by Batey.
Lister led all scorers with 15 points in the first half. McFarland and Faleru had 13 points each for the Rebels.