Feb. 27, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Over the past four years, Christina Foggie and Jasmine Lister have compiled a massive collection of happy memories at Memorial Gym.
Their final home game won't be one of them.
On an emotional Senior Night at the historic gym, the Commodores suffered a 73-68 loss to Florida before a crowd of 3,338. It was Vanderbilt's seventh loss in the past nine games, and dropped the Commodores to 18-10 overall and 7-8 in the SEC. Florida improved to 18-10, 8-7.
Foggie scored a game-high 24 points and Lister added nine points and seven rebounds for the Commodores, who fell behind 23-6 in the opening 10 minutes of the first half and then saw a second-half comeback bid fall short.
It was an unfitting farewell for Lister and Foggie. The record-breaking backcourt duo, who are two of the most celebrated players in team history, were hoping for one last taste of Memorial Magic in their final regular-season home game, but the Gators prevented it.
Although Vanderbilt trimmed Florida's lead to three points on four occasions in the final eight minutes, the Gators always had an answer whenever Vanderbilt threatened. Florida's Cassie People's hit one of the night's biggest shots when she knocked down a 3-pointer with 3:57 to go after Vanderbilt had pulled within three points.
"I think it was just about (us not) getting a stop when we needed to," said Foggie. "I don't think we communicated as much as we needed to, and I think they just made timely 3s in clutch situations."
Florida's Carlie Needles sealed the win for the Gators when she hit two free throws with five seconds remaining to push Florida's lead to 73-68 after Foggie had pulled the Commodores within three points on a jumper with seven seconds remaining.
Head coach Melanie Balcomb said her team continues to struggle to come up with timely plays on defense.
"We changed every defense you could possibly change," she said, "(but) at some point you have to stop somebody and all be on the same page. The tough thing is we keep putting ourselves in that situation and we did a great job of fighting back to get there but then we have to be able to finish it."
Freshman Kylee Smith finished with 15 points and five rebounds for the Commodores, and sophomore Morgan Batey had her second career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Vanderbilt's Kristen Gaffney, who has been sidelined by knee injuries since the beginning of last season, made her debut with the Commodores. Logging five minutes of action, Gaffney had two rebounds and two assists.
Jaterra Bonds finished with 18 to lead Florida.
Foggie and Lister, who were honored before the game, have rewritten the record book at Vanderbilt. Foggie is the program's all-time leader in 3-pointers and is ranked No. 7 on the school's career scoring list. Lister is Vanderbilt's all-time leader in minutes played and ranks third in career assists.
Together, they have been apart of 54 victories at Memorial Gym during their careers, including two memorable victories over in-state rival Tennessee and a series of other wins over ranked foes.
But the final stretch of home games for the two seniors hasn't gone as expected, with Vanderbilt losing three straight games in Nashville. The Commodores conclude the regular season on Sunday with a road game against Kentucky.
"It's definitely a sad moment because we've had a lot of success here in Memorial Gym," said Foggie, "but we still have a lot of basketball to be played. We've very excited about moving on to these last few games. I mean it's not over yet so I don't feel that sad about it yet; it's kind of just on to the next game."
The Gators were hot from the floor in the first half, but cooled off in the second half. Vanderbilt, meanwhile, started cold and never really warmed up.
The Commodores shot a season-low 32 percent from the floor, including making just 9-of-34 shots (26 percent) in the opening 20 minutes. Florida shot 56 percent in the first half but just 34 percent in the second half. The Gators finished 26-of-54 overall (48 percent).