The Vanderbilt women's basketball team, playing without starters Christina Foggie and Kady Schrann, dropped an 83-64 decision at No. 12/10 Tennessee on Sunday, February 17. The Commodores dropped to 16-9, 6-6 in SEC play, while the Lady Vols improved to 20-5, 11-1 in league action.
Junior guard Jasmine Lister led a valiant Vanderbilt effort, scoring 24 points while dishing out four assists. Freshmen Heather Bowe and Morgan Batey each added 10 points, while Batey contributed a team-best six rebounds.
Already missing Schrann and Foggie, Vanderbilt also played the second half without Tiffany Clarke, who became ill in the locker room at halftime. The Commodores played four freshmen, Bowe, Batey, Rayte'a Long and Jasmine Jenkins, along with Lister for most of the second half.
Tennessee had five players in double-figures, led by 17 from Meighan Simmons. Ariel Massengale added 14, while Bashaara Graves contributed 13 and Taber Spani and Jasmine Jones each added a dozen.
"(The freshmen) are playing hard and they're starting to figure it out," Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb said. "I think a lot of good things happened as the game went on. They got aggressive and we kept making runs back."
After Lister opened the scoring with a three, Tennessee went on a 14-2 run over 3:41 to build a 14-5 lead. Massengale and Spani each had five in the stretch. The Commodores settled in and answered with a 7-0 run to cut it to 14-12 at the under-12 minute media timeout.
After the game stayed close, UT used an 8-1 run over 1:51 to build a 33-24 lead with just under four minutes to go. Vanderbilt again responded, this time with Lister hitting back-to-back threes to cut it to 33-29. The Lady Vols ended the half on a 6-0 run to take a 39-29 lead into the break, their largest of the game.
Lister led all scorers at the break with 11, while Clarke had contributed seven points and five rebounds. Tennessee was led by 10 from Jones in the period, while Spani had nine. Tennessee shot 53.8% in the opeing period, while Vanderbilt, after shooting better than 50% for much of the period, missed its last five field goals and shot 38.7% in the period.
The Lady Vols opened the the half with a 14-4 run, leading 51-35 at the 17:16 mark. Simmons was key during the run, scoring eight of the Tennessee points. The Lady Vols then built a 20-point lead, 60-40, before Lister again drilled back-to-back threes to make it 60-46 with 11:36 to play.
Vanderbilt continued the run, cutting it to 60-50 with 8:33 to play. The Commodore defense forced UT to miss nine consecutive field goals during the stretch. Tennessee responded and did not allow Vanderbilt to get closer than 10. The Lady Vols would close the game on a 10-4 run and win by a final margin of 83-64.
Next up, Vanderbilt stays on the road, traveling to Florida on Thursday, February 21. Tipoff is set for 6:00 p.m. CT and the game can be seen on CSS. It will be Vanderbilt's first trip to Gainesville since winning a 103-97 double overtime thriller on February 6, 2011.