ATHENS, Ga. - Vanderbilt withstood a furious Georgia run and scored the game's final nine points to earn a 69-59 win over the 24th-ranked Lady Bulldogs on Thursday at Stegeman Coliseum. The win moved Vanderbilt from fourth to second place in the SEC standings.
Vanderbilt (17-7, 8-3 SEC) led by five at the half and extended its lead to as many as 16 points before Georgia (18-6, 8-3 SEC) went on a 17-2 run to cut Vanderbilt's lead to one with 2:56 to play.
The lead was trimmed to one when Georgia's Meredith Mitchell hit her first foul shot, but she missed her second which would have tied the game at 60. Following her miss, Vanderbilt would seal the win by scoring the game's final nine points, six of which came courtesy of Jasmine Lister. Lister finished with a career-high 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting.
"I'm so proud of how much the team has learned," Head Coach Melanie Balcomb said. "I kept thinking back to Kentucky when they made the same run and we fell apart. Our body language was just terrific and didn't change. I think we know and have the confidence that we've been looking for. We have an identity now and we are stronger."
Vanderbilt has now won two in a row on the road for the first time this season and has won seven of the last eight meetings with Georgia.
The Commodores moved to second in the standings after Kentucky lost at South Carolina.
Vanderbilt had a five-point lead at the half (32-27) and would extend it to 16, 58-42, with 8:59 to play after going on an 11-1 run. The signature moment of the run came after Vanderbilt had three offensive rebounds on the same possession before Hannah Tuomi had an old-fashion three-point play.
However, Georgia would not go down without a fight. Georgia's 17-2 run began when Vanderbilt ran into foul trouble. Hannah Tuomi and Tiffany Clarke had to go to the bench with 8:18 and 7:20 to play, respectively, after earning their fourth fouls. Tuomi returned with 4:00 to play and fouled out at the 3:16 mark, finishing with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Clarke returned with 5:43 to play and finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
A basket by Stephanie Holzer silenced Georgia's run and gave VU a three-point lead with 2:34 to play. Lister would score VU's next six points to extend its run to 8-0 and Holzer scored the game's final point on a free throw.
The game featured eight lead changes in the first 7:28 of play, but with Georgia leading by one, 11-10, with 12:58 to play in the half, Vanderbilt would have the game's final lead change by going on a 10-4 run to take a 20-15 lead. The eight lead changes was the total number of lead changes Vanderbilt had in its entire double overtime win at Florida on Sunday.
The Commodores will face No. 4 Tennessee at 5 p.m. Sunday at Memorial Gym in a battle of the SECs top two teams. The game will air on ESPNU and fans in Nashville can hear the game on 560 AM.