March 2, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After rallying within a point from 19 down, the Vanderbilt women's basketball team fell to No. 13/10 Tennessee in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals, 68-57, on Friday, March 2, at Bridgestone Arena. The Commodores fell to 22-9, while the Lady Vols improved to 22-8 and move on to Saturday's semifinals.
Just like its opening round win over Mississippi State, Vanderbilt was led by Christina Foggie and Stephanie Holzer. Foggie scored a team-high 16 points, while Holzer recorded another double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Jasmine Lister was also in double-figures with 12 points.
The Lady Vols were led by 18 points from Shekinna Stricklen, with all of them coming in the second half. Glory Johnson added 15 points and nine rebounds, while Meighan Simmons contributes 12 points.
Vanderbilt struggled early on, shooting just 26.9% in the opening half. The Lady Vols led by as many as 19 points with 3:44 to play in the opening frame before the Commodores rallied to be down just eight, 35-27, at the break.
After the teams sat through an extended halftime because of a severe weather threat in the Nashville Metro area, the Vanderbilt rally continued.
The Commodores cut the lead to 41-40 with 14:11 to play and again to 43-42 at the 11:31 mark and 45-44 at the 10:42 mark. Vanderbilt could never quite tie or take the lead and after Lister missed a layup, Stricklen responded with a three to push the lead to 48-44.
After a Foggie layup, Stricklen scored a lay-up and was fouled by Holzer, converting the three-point play to push the lead back to five, 51-46. That was immediately followed by a Foggie miss from three and another three-point play by Johnson. A Lister jumper to cut it to six, then Stricklen drilled another three to make it 57-48. Vanderbilt would get no closer than six points the rest of the way.
Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb was proud of the fight her team showed and is pleased with what her team has done as they hope to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
"We played hard, we fought hard, made good adjustments, but just didn't make the plays," Balcomb explained. "I think we're a better basketball team than we showed tonight. That's disappointing, but I think we have a lot to look forward to."
Holzer echoed that sentiment, saying the Commodores know they can still make a deep March run.
"Coach is always saying the girls that go the farthest (in the NCAA Tournament) have the most fun together because they want to stay and play until the end. In March, we're going to be a little crazy and show-up and surprise a few people."
The Commodores will now take a break and await NCAA Tournament selections on Monday, March 12. Assuming Vanderbilt is in the field, they will then open the first round at either 4:00 or 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 18, at Memorial Gym. Second round action is on Tuesday, March 20 at 8:30 p.m.