Feb. 13, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Senior Christina Foggie continues to move up the charts on several of Vanderbilt's all-time lists. But for now, it's a sure bet that she and the No. 16/20 Commodores are more concerned with the fact that they aren't moving up the standings in the SEC.
Thursday night's 68-62 home loss to Auburn -- which ended Vanderbilt's staggering 21-game winning streak against the Tigers -- was the Commodores' fourth loss in the past five games and dropped them to 6-5 in the conference (17-7 overall).
Foggie had another huge game, scoring 23 of her game-high 24 points in the second half. In the process, she reached two monumental milestones -- tying former star Merideth Marsh for the program's record for career 3-pointers (with 256) and moving into the Top-10 on Vanderbilt's all-time scoring list.
But her explosive second half wasn't enough for the Commodores, who saw Auburn (14-10, 5-6) score the final six points of the game after the teams were tied at 62-62 with 39 seconds left.
"Foggie's a great offensive player, but we're not going to win a lot of games with one kid scoring," said head coach Melanie Balcomb. "Everybody in this program can score and, if we would execute and stick to our game plan, they would score. But we're not doing a good job of sticking with our game plan."
Auburn's Tyrese Tanner scored a game-high 18 points, including a basket in the paint with 24 seconds left that put the Tigers ahead for good. Auburn's defense then came up with two straight stops, and the Tigers hit four straight free throws -- two each by Peyton Davis and Kiani Parker -- to seal the win.
Brandy Montgomery finished with 13 points for the Tigers, who earned their first win over the Commodores since beating Vanderbilt 55-54 in Nashville on Jan. 16, 2000.
Vanderbilt was hoping Thursday's game would be the perfect opportunity to bounce back from Monday's 81-53 defeat to Tennessee. Instead, the Commodores suffered a home loss for only the third time this season.
"We thought we learned from our mistakes against Tennessee," said Jasmine Lister, who was limited to eight points, "but I don't think we made those adjustments in the game."
Vanderbilt trailed 29-21 at the half and was down 52-47 with 7:30 to play before the Commodores put together a 6-0 run to take their first lead of the second half, 53-52, on a pair of free throws by Morgan Batey with 5:48 to go.
The teams then traded clutch baskets for the next five minutes, with six lead changes and three ties in that stretch, while playing to a 62-62 tie with under a minute to go. But Auburn made the big plays in the final 30 seconds to grab the win.
"Auburn came out ready to play," said Lister. "I don't think we came out as aggressive and intense as we should have coming off a loss."
Foggie was the lone player to finish in double figures for the Commodores, who shot just 43 percent from the floor -- including 33 percent in the first half -- during the loss.
The upside to the defeat was that Foggie certainly provided some notable highlights. With her second 3-pointer of the second half, which came at the 8:30 mark, she tied Marsh for the program's all-time record for career 3-pointers.
Foggie also climbed three spots on Vanderbilt's all-time scoring list and moved into the Top-10 by surpassing two former Commodore legendary players, Heidi Gillingham and Christina Wirth. Foggie now has 1,613 points in her career, and ranks eighth on the all-time list.
But those accomplishments didn't take the pain away from the loss for the Commodores.
"I think, as a coach, I'm just disappointed in our execution and not being able to do the things, defensively or offensively, that we prepared for this team," said Balcomb. "I know we only we had one day to prepare so, if you want to find excuses, you can. But we played this team already so it should've been something where we have enough confidence, we're on our home court and I certainly can't explain it for them."
The first half couldn't have gone much worse for the Commodores, who trailed 29-21 after shooting just 33 percent from the floor (7-of-21). Auburn fired off 10 more shots than VU in the opening 20 minutes, going 13-of-31 from the floor.
The Tigers got out to a quick start, opening the game with an 8-0 run and forcing a Vanderbilt timeout.
The Commodores responded with a 16-7 surge to take their first lead of the game, 16-15, on a free throw by Kylee Smith with 9:04 to play.
But Auburn quickly regained control, closing the half with a 14-5 run to build the 29-21 halftime edge. The Tigers' defense clamped down on Foggie, holding her to one point and allowing her to take just two shots from the floor.
Vanderbilt visits Miss. State on Sunday.