March 20, 2012
Final Stats |
Highlights | Vanderbilt Press Conference | Duke Press Conference
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Vanderbilt women's basketball season came to a close at the hands of second-seeded Duke, 96-80, during the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Memorial Gym on Tuesday, March 20.
The Commodores conclude the season at 23-10 while the Blue Devils improve to 26-5 and move to the Fresno Regional semifinals to face third-seeded St. John's.
The Blue Devils came out firing and ended up shooting season-highs from the field (65.6%) and from three-point range (63.6%). The Blue Devils were even hotter to open the contest, shooting 67.6% in the first half.
Vanderbilt did manage to score 80 points, which was the most given up by Duke all season. Christina Foggie led the Commodore effort with 26 points. Jasmine Lister added 16 points and seven assists. Stephanie Holzer recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and Elan Brown added 13 points.
Leading the Duke effort were Haley Peters, who shot 12-16 from the field for 25 points, and Tricia Liston, who shot 10-15 from the field, 3-5 from three, and scored 23 points. Elizabeth Williams (13 points), Shay Selby (12 points) and Chelsea Gray (12 points) were also in double-figures.
The first five minutes saw the teams trade baskets, with all four ties and both lead changes occurring in the first six minutes and five seconds. After a Holzer lay-up tied the game at 16 at the 13:55 mark of the first half, Duke kept scoring and Vanderbilt did not.
The Blue Devils went on a 20-4 run to take a 40-20 lead with 6:35 left until the break and took a 56-32 lead into the locker room. They out-scored Vanderbilt in the paint, 30-16, as well as 19-2 off turnovers.
Vanderbilt would win the second half, 48-40, but the Commodores never truly threatened a comeback. The primary reason for the better second half showing was improved defense, as Vanderbilt forced 11 turnovers in the second frame after forcing just two in the opening half.
Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb was pleased that her team did not quit and knows the future is bright, as her squad loses just one player to graduation, returns its top-seven scorers and brings six newcomers.
"We played fearless down the stretch," Balcomb said. "This is a very young team that started out with 10 players and a walk-on, then we had a torn ACL. I try not to talk about our injuries, but we fought through a lot of adversity and I'm proud of where we were at in March."
She knows a loss like this one can make her players work harder, especially knowing the strides they made this year.
"Christina Foggie worked her butt off all summer and you look at where she went, Jasmine Lister last year to this year, Stephanie Holzer who fought injuries all last year, Elan Brown makes me wish this season could keep going because she just keeps getting better and better every game," Balcomb added. "I just look at the experience they got and how much they've improved and we're going to continue to going forward."
Foggie, who was Vanderbilt's first SEC scoring champion since 1991, also knows despite the second round loss, the future is bright.
"Looking back on the season we did a lot of good things," Foggie said. "We're disappointed that we had to end this way, but it's also going to leave a bad taste in our mouth. Being a young team, we have a lot to learn from (this game)."
The Commodores did accomplish quite a bit on the season, including winning 20 games and reaching the NCAA Tournament for the 13th consecutive year.
In 2012-13, they will return 10 of 11 players from this year, while adding a six-member recruiting class that was ranked No. 17 in the nation by ESPN's Hoopgurlz.
The loss ended the career of Vanderbilt's lone senior, Jordan Coleman. Coleman played in 82 career games and made 17 starts, while scoring 158 points. She scored two points in her career finale.