Late basket sinks the Commodores in Starkville

Feb. 16, 2014

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STARKVILLE, MIss. -- After a joyous January, the Vanderbilt women's basketball team is enduring a frustrating February.

And not even a record-setting achievement by Christina Foggie could ease the pain Sunday.

The No. 16/20 Commodores lost their third straight game, falling to Miss. State, 64-62, in Starkville.

Martha Alwal's basket in the paint with three seconds left broke a 62-62 tie and lifted the Bulldogs (17-9, 4-8) to their first win over Vanderbilt (17-8, 6-6) since the 2009-10 season. Alwal finished with a game-high 23 points.

"You don't want a game to come down to the last possession on the road," said head coach Melanie Balcomb. "When it does, it's not going to be in your favor."

Foggie, who scored a team-high 15 points despite being hampered by foul trouble, became Vanderbilt's all-time leader in 3-pointers when she knocked down a shot from the corner with 4:37 left in the first half. It was the 257th of her career, enabling her to surpass former Commodore standout Merideth Marsh atop the list. Marsh made 256 during her career from 2007-10.

But Foggie's record-breaking basket ultimately proved to be the day's most memorable element for the Commodores, who continued their recent trend of hard-luck losses. They've gone 1-5 in their past six games, and four of the losses have been decided in the final minute.

Sophomore Morgan Batey had a double-double, finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Commodore, and Jasmine Lister also had 13 points for Vanderbilt.

Breanna Richardson finished with 16 for Miss. State, which ended a six-game losing streak in the series.

Vanderbilt built a 10-point lead midway through the first half, and owned a 28-21 lead at the break. But Miss. State rallied back to take its first lead of the game, 50-49, on a basket by Dominique Dillingham with 7:17 to go, and the teams traded clutch baskets the rest of the way.

Foggie tied the game at 62-62 with a fade-away jumper with 15 seconds to go, but Alwal answered with the game-winner with 3.3 seconds left. Vanderbilt then had one final possession, but didn't get a shot off.

Foggie, the SEC's leading scorer, was limited to 27 minutes of action due to foul problems, and Balcomb said the Commodores didn't respond well when she out of the game.

"When Foggie is out, she can't win the game because she's sitting on the side," said Balcomb. "You've got to make plays when your scorer isn't on the floor anymore."

Balcomb said some of her players need to be willing to take more shots.

"I think we've got a lot of players just hiding and they're now being exposed," she said. "They've got to make plays on both ends of the floor."

Both teams shot the ball effectively in the second half, with Vanderbilt making 13-of-21 attempts (61.9 percent) and Miss. State going 15-of-25 (60 percent). But the Commodores missed some costly free throws, going 6-of-11 in the final 20 minutes and they finished 12-of-19 for the game. Miss. State was 16-of-20 at the line.

Vanderbilt travels to Arkansas on Thursday.



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