#11 Mississippi State 55 vs. #3 Vanderbilt 69 2011 SEC Tournament, Game 8 Nashville, Tenn., March 4, 2011
• With the 69-55 victory, Vanderbilt moves to 20-10 overall. It marks the 11th straight year – and 18th time in the last 19 years – that Vanderbilt has reached the 20-win mark. • It marks Vanderbilt’s third win this season vs. Mississippi State. The ‘Dores are 32-14 all-time vs. the Bulldogs, and 5-2 all-time vs. MSU in SEC tournament play – and have not lost to them in tourney play since a 53-51 loss in 1983. • With the victory, the six-time tournament champion Commodores move to 43-25 all-time in Southeastern Conference tournament play. Vanderbilt ranks second in the conference behind only Tennessee in SEC tournament victories.
Vanderbilt-related SEC tournament notes: • The Commodores move to 18-5 all-time in the tournament during Head Coach Melanie Balcomb’s nine-year tenure. • Vanderbilt has now advanced in the tourney for the 12th consecutive year. Three Balcomb teams have captured the title. • The Commodores move to 9-1 all-time in SEC tourney games played in Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Vanderbilt has won two of the previous three league tournaments (titles in 2002 and 2004) contested in the venue. • Under Balcomb, the ‘Dores are 8-1 all-time in the SEC quarterfinals. It was the team’s 12th win in its last 13 SEC quarterfinal games. • As a No. 3 seed, the Commodores are now 12-3 all-time.
First Half Notes: • With 14:52 left in the first half, starting forward Tiffany Clarke went to the bench with her second personal foul. She was limited to just 22 minutes in the season finale before exiting with five fouls. • Vanderbilt opened a five-point early lead (11-6) on a short hook by Stephanie Holzer, then upped the margin to 17-9 at the 9:12 mark on a second consecutive 3-pointer by Angela Puleo. • The Commodore defense was superb in the early stages. Through the first 12 minutes, Vanderbilt limited MSU to just 25 percent in field goals (5 of 20). • With 6:07 remaining, Holzer’s short basket and free throw jumped the margin to nine at 22-13. • Puleo broke a personal 3-point shooting slump, making three of four attempts before intermission. In her last eight regular season games, Puleo made just six of 30 3-point shots. • Vanderbilt’s 33-26 halftime margin was sparked by reserve guard Elan Brown, who produced eight points and a pair of steals. • Commodore reserves scored 16 of the team’s points before intermission.
Second Half Notes: • After failing to score in the first half, Clarke quickly made her presence felt by scoring seven points in the first 5:00 of the second half. • Vanderbilt’s interior players upped their game after intermission. After combining for just nine points in the first half, Holzer, Clarke and Tuomi produced 22 points before the 8:00 media timeout mark.
Team Notes: • Vanderbilt continues to get balanced scoring. For the third consecutive game, three Commodores reached double digits: Clarke (23), Puleo (11) and Tuomi (10). • Vanderbilt limited Mississippi State to just 30.7% shooting (23 of 75), including just four of 23 from 3-point range. The Commodores made 52.2% of its 46 shot attempts. • The Commodores had 15 assists, and limited the Bulldogs to just seven assists. • Vanderbilt was successful from the foul line, hitting 17 of 22. MSU was just five of 12. • The Commodores did commit 13 turnovers, while forcing just four MSU miscues.
Individual Notes: • Scoreless at the half, Clarke finished with a game-high 23 points, her fourth double-digit effort in the last five games. She also paced the squad with nine rebounds. Clarke’s point total matches her career high against an SEC opponent. • Rhoads topped the Commodores with six assists. It marks her highest single-game total in SEC tourney play. • Sophomore Gabby Smith tied a career high with five rebounds.