The Vanderbilt women's basketball team, still playing without leading scorer Christina Foggie, went on the road and picked-up a win at Florida, 68-57, thanks to big efforts from Tiffany Clarke and Jasmine Lister. The Commodores improved to 17-9, 7-6 in SEC play, while the Gators fell to 15-12, 4-9 in league action.
Clarke scored a game high 26 points while grabbing seven rebounds and blocking four shots. Lister scored 16 points, including 4-of-6 from three, while dishing out four assists. Heather Bowe contributed eight points, while fellow freshmen Jasmine Jenkins and Morgan Batey each added seven points.
Florida was led by double-double efforts from Sydney Moss and Jennifer George. Moss scored 15 points and grabbed 10 boards, while also handing out four assists. George scored 13 points and pulled down 11 boards, while matching Moss' four helpers.
"Tiffany and Jasmine (Lister) both showed up for the entire game," Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb said. "When they show up for 40 minutes, we're going to be hard to beat."
Play was back-and-forth early, as neither team led by more than two points until a Clarke basket put Vanderbilt up, 12-8, at the 10:52 mark. The Commodores built a 14-8 lead, holding Florida without a basket for nearly seven minutes, before George got her first basket of the game just under the eight-minute mark.
The lead continued to grow when Lister connected from three for her first points of the game to make it 19-12 with just over five minutes until the break. Bowe scored six of nine Commodore points during the stretch that saw Vandy go up, 21-13.
Lister connected for another three in the final minute of the half, putting Vanderbilt up 26-15 at the break. Vanderbilt shot 44% from the field in the opening period, while holding the Gators to 26.9%. Florida's 15-point output marked the best defensive first half for Vanderbilt this season.
The start of the second half was an entirely different story, as the Gators came out and used a 12-0 run to take a 27-26 lead over the first four minutes of the second period. George scored six of the 12 Florida points on the run.
The run was halted when Jenkins hit a driving layup at the 15:40 mark, putting Vanderbilt back on top, 28-27. Carlie Needles answered back with a three to put the Gators back on top, 30-28.
The game continued to be back and forth, with the next big shot coming in the form of a three from Lister to put Vanderbilt up, 33-32. The lead was pushed to four when Jenkins got three the old fashioned way with 11 minutes left. Lister followed with another three to make it 39-32.
Florida answered with consecutive layups from Moss to cut it back to 39-36. After a Clarke jumper, Needles drilled another three to make it a two-point game, 41-39. At the eight-minute media timeout, Vanderbilt would lead 43-39.
Clarke helped make the lead grow, scoring nine of 13 Vanderbilt points as the Commodores built a 52-43 lead and forced Florida to take timeout with 4:08 left in the game.
It continued to be Clarke's game, as the senior forward scored 16 of the final 21 Vanderbilt points to provide a final margin of 68-57.
"We calmed down and recovered really well after Florida made that big run," Balcomb said of the Commodores' second-half performance. "Jasmine (Lister) hit big shots to keep us in it. Then she got the ball to Tiffany, and we just played through it."
Vanderbilt shot 53.3% from the field for the game, while holding Florida to 40.0%. Vanderbilt was also 72.7% from the foul line, including 14-for-18 in the second half with the game on the line.
Next up for Vanderbilt is a home date with No. 10/13 Texas A&M on Sunday, February 24. Tipoff at Memorial Gym is set for 4:00 p.m. CT.