Feb. 2, 2012
AUBURN, Ala. - The Vanderbilt women's basketball team finally got a road win behind the impressive play of junior forward Tiffany Clarke, defeating Auburn, 66-61, on Thursday, February 2, at Auburn Arena. The Commodores improved to 17-5, 5-4 in SEC play, while the Tigers fell to 11-12, 3-7 in league action.
Clarke scored 26 points on 9-11 shooting from the field and an impressive 8-9 from the foul line. She also grabbed eight rebounds.
Vanderbilt also got 10 points and eight rebounds from center Stephanie Holzer, while guard Jasmine Lister contributed 13 points and six assists.
Auburn was led by the trio of Chantel Hilliard, Camille Glymph and Morgan Jennings, who scored 13, 12 and 11 points, respectively. Jennings grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
For the first time this season, Vanderbilt found itself tied at the half (33-33). The Commodores have led at the break in all 16 wins and trailed at the break in all five losses.
Vanderbilt used strong shooting for its portion of the score, shooting 50% in the opening half (11-22). Auburn used a balanced attack, with eight different players scoring in the opening frame.
The second half was all Clarke, as the Tigers just did not have an answer for her. She scored 18 of her 26 in the second frame, going 7-9 from the field. While the Commodores were never able to pull away, Auburn never managed to tie the game in the second half.
The Commodores are back in action on Sunday, February 5, when they travel to Starkville, Miss., to take on Mississippi State. Tipoff with the Bulldogs is set for 2:00 p.m. CT.
Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb
On the game…
“I’m proud of, first of all, getting a stop to win the game. The intensity level that they had to get a stop and to defend 3-point shooters that I think are probably the best 3-pont percentage and they did it all night. Secondly, just having a confidence level that they have earned in practice and that they deserve to win tonight. I felt a different level of intensity, communication and determination to win tonight than I have all season on the road. Obviously it is our first conference win on the road, but I could just see that we were going to win by watching it.”
On hand signals from the bench…
“We have a lot of different goals and Tash (Tasha Weddle) has been helping the kids with a lot of their mental things trying to get three stops in a row, so they are counting 1-2-3. We are trying to get them to focus of getting those stops and getting three groups of three stops in a four minute period, those kinds of things. That is what we have been talking about.”
On what this win means to the team…
“Well it puts us over .500 in our conference and that is important, but it shows that we have more mental toughness than we had early on. We have never been a team that is really good early in the season. We try to be the best team we can be in March and just keep getting better every game and I felt like we were doing that, we’re getting better each game and those two wins at home we built confidence and it gave us the ability against a very good team on the road.”