Highlights | Balcomb | Reed & Batey
By David Dawson
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Vanderbilt women broke away from their trend of slow starts Sunday afternoon. This time, it was a tough finish that hurt the Commodores.
Unable to slow down a fourth-quarter explosion by No. 12-ranked Texas A&M, the Commodores were saddled with a 75-63 defeat that extended their losing streak to seven games.
Vanderbilt (15-12, 4-10), which was facing a ranked opponent for the fourth consecutive game, owned a four-point lead at the end of the third quarter. But the Aggies (20-7, 10-4) outscored Vanderbilt 32-16 in the final 10 minutes to send the Commodores to their fourth straight home loss.
Texas A&M's Courtney Walker, the SEC's leading scorer, finished with 22 points and six rebounds for the Aggies, who stretched their winning streak to five games. Chelsea Jennings added 20 points on 10-of-13 shooting and Jordan Jones had 11 assists to help Texas A&M earn its first win in Memorial Gym in four attempts.
Vanderbilt's Morgan Batey scored 15 points, going 7-of-8 from the floor, for the Commodores. Marqu'es Webb and Rebekah Dahlman added 12 points each and Jasmine Jenkins had 11.
Vanderbilt limited Texas A&M to 22 points in the first half and the Commodores carried an eight-point lead into the locker room. But the Aggies erupted for 53 points in the second half, including putting together an 18-2 run to start the fourth quarter.
"They turned up the pressure and then we were on our heels, and that’s pretty much who we’ve been," said head coach Melanie Balcomb. "We’ve been fine as long as we’re in control and we get to do what we want to do."
Vanderbilt has been victimized by slow starts in recent days, falling into sizable first-quarter deficits in six of the previous seven games. But against Texas A&M, the Commodores were the aggressors in the first half and for much of the third quarter. Vanderbilt took a 4-2 lead at the 7:10 mark of the first quarter and stayed in front until the 8:10 mark of the fourth quarter when the Aggies tied the game on a jumper by Williams.
Texas A&M moved in front on a basket by Anriel Howard with 7:13 remaining, and the Commodores never lead again.
"I think the biggest problem is we should have broken it open when (we had the chance)," said Balcomb. "When they changed the game and turned it up, pressed us, trapped us, made us play full court, we became tentative and turned the ball over."
Texas A&M finished 0-for-3 from 3-point range and became the second team this month to be held without a 3-pointer against Vanderbilt. (Tennessee went 0-for-12 from long range in a 69-51 win over the Commodores on Feb. 11). But the Aggies made up for their lack of perimeter shooting by being hot from elsewhere.
Texas A&M shot 52 percent from the floor for the game, including 75 percent (9-of-12) in the fourth quarter. The Aggies also enjoyed an advantage at the free throw line, finishing 19-of-28 compared to Vanderbilt's 5-of-8.
The Commmodores shot 50.9 percent from the floor, as Webb and Batey combined to go 12-of-15. Vanderbilt hosts Mississippi State on Thursday on Senior Night at Memorial Gym.
NOTES: Texas A&M became just the third team this season to shot 50 percent or better from the field against Vanderbilt. … Minta Spears finished with a team-high six assists for Vanderbilt. … Vanderbilt led Sunday's game for 29 minutes.