March 3, 2013
The Vanderbilt women's basketball team concluded its regular season with a 55-50 setback at No. 11/11 Georgia Sunday. The Commodores finished the regular season at 19-10, 9-7 in SEC play, while the Lady Bulldogs conclude the year at 25-4, 12-4 in league action.
The Vanderbilt effort was led by 17 points from Jasmine Lister. The junior guard added three assists. Senior forward Tiffany Clarke scored 13 points while grabbing nine rebounds. She played just 29 minutes due to foul trouble. Freshman guard Morgan Batey added nine points and nine rebounds.
Georgia was led by 16 points and six rebounds from Jasmine Hassell. Jasmine James contributed 10 points and five assists. Shacobia Barbee added nine points and five boards.
"They pressured us, got us back on our heels, and we weren't strong with the basketball," Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb said. "They took us out of our timing on offense, so even when we got a good look, we didn't knock it down."
Both teams got off to a slow offensive start, with Clarke scoring the first two points from the foul line at 18:42 of the first half. Clarke continued most the early scoring, helping Vanderbilt build a 10-4 lead early. The Lady Bulldogs responded with a 7-0 run to take their first lead at 11-10 and force Balcomb to take timeout at the 14:42 mark.
Georgia scored the next basket to make it 13-10 before a Lister three tied things up for the first time. Hassell then responded with eight points during a 12-2 run to help Georgia go up 25-15 with just over four minutes until the break. Vanderbilt went nearly seven minutes without a point during the stretch.
Both teams would struggle offensively over the final few minutes of the first half and the Lady Bulldogs took a 27-18 lead into the locker room. Vanderbilt shot just 33.3% (6-18) in the opening period, while Georgia was only marginally better at 36.0% (9-25). The Commodores also turned it over 14 times in the period, resulting in eight Georgia points.
The teams traded baskets early in the second half before a Griffin three put Georgia up 38-26, the Lady Bulldogs' largest lead of the game. Lister and Bowe scored back-to-back baskets, with the defensive plays in between seeing Clarke and Bowe take charges, as Vanderbilt cut it to eight, 38-30.
After a few more baskets were traded, Batey came up with a steal and layup to cut it to 42-35. Armstrong missed and a Bowe rebound was followed by a baseline jumper from Batey to cut the Georgia lead to five, 42-37, with nine minutes left.
The run was halted when Erika Ford hit a jumper to push it to 44-37 on a play that saw Lister injure her shoulder, forcing the Commodores to play defense with five players. Lister did return, but not before Ford scored again to push the Georgia lead back to nine, 46-37.
Jasmine James then pushed the Georgia lead to 12, 50-38, with 4:02 to play, forcing Vanderbilt to take another timeout. With Vanderbilt trailing 10 with just over a minute remaining, Lister scored, followed by a Batey steal and another Lister score to cut it to 52-46. After Vanderbilt briefly had a steal, Brown turned it back over.
Vanderbilt sent Armstrong to the line and she missed the front end of a one-and-one before Batey scored to make it 52-48. James then got in the open court and hit a layup to make it 54-48 with just over 20 seconds remaining. A quick Clarke layup at the other end made it 54-50 with 12.6 seconds left, as Vanderbilt took its last timeout.
It took six seconds before Brown could foul Barbee with 6.5 left. She hit the first and missed the second, but Vanderbilt missed its final attempt and fell, 55-50.
Vanderbilt wound up shooting 40.8% (20-49) in the contest, but just 1-of-9 from three-point range. The Commodores also turned it over 21 times in the contest.
The contest concludes the regular season for Vanderbilt. The Commodores will play their first SEC Tournament game on Thursday, March 7, at the Arena at Gwinnett, in Duluth, Ga. The Commodores are the No. 7 seed and will play 10th-seeded Missouri at 5 p.m. CT.