Feb. 24, 2013
NASHVILLE - The Vanderbilt women's basketball team sealed arguably their biggest win of the season so far at Memorial Gymnasium on Sunday, defeating No. 10/13 Texas A&M, 61-51. With the win, Vanderbilt rises to 18-9, 8-6 in SEC play, while the Aggies fell to 21-7 and 11-3 in league action.
Vanderbilt had not defeated an AP Top-10 opponent since January 14, 2010, when the Dores routed sixth-ranked Georgia, 66-44.
The Commodores rallied around Tiffany Clarke, who scored a career-high 30 points on the game with seven rebounds. The last time a Commodore scored 30 points in a game was over a year ago, when Christina Foggie dropped 34 against 17-ranked Georgia on January 26, 2012.
Elan Brown scored 12 points for Vandy, 10 of which came in the first half. Jasmine Lister contributed 11, while Jasmine Jenkins and Heather Bowe each scored four. Morgan Batey led all players with 11 rebounds on the game.
For Texas A&M, Kelsey Bone led with 17 points, while Kristi Bellock added a double-double performance with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Courtney Walker scored nine points, Adrienne Pratcher had seven and Courtney Williams and Karla Gilbert added four and two points.
Vandy came out strong from the start, going up 7-2 at the 16:21 mark in the first half after a Lister three-pointer. Action went back and forth for much of the first half, but a rousing three-pointer by Brown put the Commodores up 16-13 with five minutes remaining. At that point, Vandy never looked back.
Stout Vanderbilt defense forced the Aggies to miss 10 of their last 11 shots going into halftime, at which point Vanderbilt held at 25-20 lead.
The second half featured a show from Clarke, who scored 22 of her 30 points after the break, including eight of Vanderbilt's first 10 in the period.
Texas A&M was able to keep the score within reach for much of the second half. While Bone struggled offensively, adding only five points, Bellock scored all 12 of her points in the second period.
The Aggies cut the lead to three, 47-44, at the 6:52 mark, but Vandy was able to end the threat quickly with a steal by Batey, followed by a three-pointer by Lister on the ensuing possession. Vanderbilt never looked back and won by a final margin of 61-51
Vanderbilt shot 41% on the game to Texas A&M's 31%, including 45% from three-point range and 67% from the line.
With this win, head coach Melanie Balcomb ties Jim Foster for most wins in program history with 256.
Balcomb will try to become the program's all-time winningest coach on Thursday, February 28, when Auburn visits Memorial Gym for senior night. The team will honor its three seniors - Brown, Clarke and Gabby Smith - 20 minutes prior to the 8:00 p.m. tipoff.