COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Vanderbilt women's basketball team dropped a 60-52 decision to No. 16/16 Texas A&M on Thursday in its first SEC trip to College Station. The Commodores fell to 14-7, 4-4 in SEC play, while the Aggies improved to 17-5, 7-1 in league action.
Texas A&M was led by 20 from Courtney Walker, who had just six at the half. Kelsey Bone and Kristi Bellock each had eight points and nine rebounds for the Aggies.
Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb was pleased with her team's efforts, especially over the first 30 minutes.
"I liked the way we started," Balcomb explained. "We had a great game plan and they executed it for about 30 minutes. When it got tight, we all started doing what was comfortable. They turned up their defense and took our individual strengths away."
Balcomb was also pleased with her team's defensive effort, especially on Bone, who entered the game as the SEC's leading scorer.
"We did a great job, defensively," Balcomb said. "I couldn't ask for much more. I felt really good about our focus. I think the problem was on offense."
Vanderbilt got off to a strong start defensively, holding A&M off the scoreboard over the first 4:23 of the game. They also forced Bone, who led the SEC in field goal percentage entering the game, to miss her first three attempts from the floor. She didn't score until there was 3:02 left in the first half and had just two points and two rebounds at the break.
The Commodores used a balanced attack in the first half to lead by as many as seven. The Aggies fought back, holding Vanderbilt to just four points in the final 4:58 of the half and closing it to 27-24 at the break. Bowe was leading the way for Vandy with eight points. Walker was the leading scorer for A&M with six.
Vanderbilt shot 44.4% (12-27) in the first half, while going 3-of-6 from three. They held the Aggies to 12-34 (35.3%) and 0-for-6 from beyond the arc in the opening period.
Texas A&M scored the first four points of the second half to take its first lead, 28-27, just 88 seconds into the frame. Clarke responded with a layup to put Vanderbilt back on top and that began a series of ties and lead changes.
Midway through the second half, a pair of Clarke free throws put Vanderbilt up, 39-38, before A&M responded with a 10-0 run to take a 48-39 lead. A Foggie jumper halted the run with just under nine minutes to play.
Vanderbilt rallied to close the gap to three on a couple of occasions. The first was at 48-45 on a free throw by Clarke with 5:55 to play and the second was on a layup by Foggie to make it 50-47 with 4:48 left.
The Aggies responded with a 10-0 run to take their biggest lead of the game, 60-47, with just over 90 seconds to play. Vanderbilt went nearly three minutes without a point before a Lister three made it 60-50 with 1:17 to play.
The Commodores forced a turnover and scored to cut it to eight, 60-52, before Walker missed the front end of a one-and-one. Foggie missed a three and then had to foul Bellock and put her at the line. She missed the first and Brown got the rebound.
Lister couldn't convert at the other end and Bellock went back to the line. She missed again, with Shaw pulling down the rebound, but Vanderbilt couldn't score quick enough.
After shooting 44.4% in the first half, Vanderbilt was just 30.0% in the second to shoot 36.8% for the game. Texas A&M was the opposite, improving from 35.3% to 71.4% in the second half for a total percentage of 49.1%.
Turnovers also hurt the Commodores, as they committed 16 leading to 16 Aggie points. A&M committed 12 and Vanderbilt only scored six off those miscues.
Balcomb changed her starting lineup for the first time since December 22, replacing Schrann with Bowe. The Commodores have used five different lineups this season.
Next up for Vanderbilt is the first of three-straight home games when it hosts Ole Miss on Sunday, February 3. Tipoff is set for 2:00 p.m. at Memorial Gym.