By David Dawson
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Vanderbilt women won the rebounding battle rather handily against Missouri on Sunday. But it was three rebounds that Vanderbilt didn't secure that proved costly for the Commodores in a 54-51 loss at Memorial Gym.
With Missouri (15-12, 5-9) nursing a one-point lead in the game's final minute, the Tigers pulled down three offensive rebounds -- two after missed 3-pointers and another after a missed free throw -- to extend the possession. The pivotal sequence enabled the Tigers to burn more than 30 seconds off the clock, and they ultimately escaped with the victory over the Commodores (14-13, 5-9) when Rebekah Dahlman missed a heavily contested 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Tigers, who came into the game averaging an SEC-leading 7.4 three-pointers per game, went 8-of-25 from 3-point range in the win, and Missouri's Jordan Frericks finished with a game-high 15 points and eight rebounds.
Vanderbilt's Marqu'es Webb finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, but she was lone player to reach double figures in scoring for the Commodores, who suffered the loss despite winning the rebounding battle, 34-26. Vanderbilt has now lost five of its past seven games.
"I'm just disappointed that we didn't stick to our game plan today and execute the way we could have executed," said Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb. "You get a team like this and you can't win the game unless you're disciplined and stick to trailing their shooters. They average (about) eight 3s per game, and they got eight threes today. ... We just didn't play hard enough or disciplined enough defensively."
Maddie Stock scored 13 points and Morgan Eye had 12 for the Tigers, who have gone 4-4 since Jan. 29 after going 1-5 in SEC play prior to that point.
Eye hit two free throws with 12 seconds left to give Missouri a four-point lead before Vanderbilt's Paris Kea hit a layup with eight seconds to go. Frericks was then fouled before any time ran off the clock, and she made the first of two shots. After she missed the second, Vanderbilt had one last possession, but Dahlman's shot missed the mark.
"We just weren't aggressive enough today," said Webb. "And they took advantage of that. They are a good team. They stuck to their game plan and it showed."
Frericks scored 12 first-half points to help Missouri build a 33-23 halftime lead. Frericks, who entered the day ranked 12th in the SEC in scoring and second in rebounding, was limited to just three points -- all free throws -- in the second half, but her teammates filled the void with a series of clutch baskets.
Among the biggest was a 3-pointer by Stock with 2:17 to play that gave Missouri a 50-44 lead. It proved to be the Tigers' final field goal of the game, but they made just enough free throws -- and used the clutch work on the offensive glass to -- to maintain the lead down the stretch.
Missouri's defense limited Dahlman to eight points on 2-of-7 shooting. Dahlman was averaging 17 points per game in Vanderbilt's past three games.
"They took all of our scorers out of it," said Balcomb. "They earned this win. ... They took away the shots that they wanted to take away and they made our people take shots who aren't scorers. If you aren't disciplined to work hard enough to get a shot for a certain person, and you just start taking shots, that's exactly what they want you to do."
Vanderbilt plays its final home game on Thursday, hosting Auburn at 7 p.m. Auburn earned its first SEC win on Sunday, beating Georgia 44-26 in Athens.