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NASHVILLE -- The Vanderbilt women's basketball team lifted the lid on the 2017-18 season on Friday but couldn't defeat Middle Tennessee falling, 65-54 at Memorial Gym. Christa Reed led Vanderbilt with 14 points while Kayla Overbeck added 10 points. Reed and Erin Whalen each picked up four rebounds.
How It Happened
The Blue Raiders jumped out to a 9-2 lead early through the first four minutes of play with rookie Chelsie Hall earning the first bucket of the season for the Commodores and the only two field goals until the 1:35 mark. The Blue Raiders seemed to control the first quarter but the home team used back-to-back treys from Bell and Cierra Walker to cut the lead to five points -- the closest it got - in the first quarter before Middle Tennessee took a 22-14 lead at the end of the quarter.
The Commodores came out strong in the second quarter opening on a 7-0 run to cut the once nine-point Middle Tennessee lead to just one point, 22-21 at the 7:19 mark. The home team made use of its shooters touch with back-to-back triples from Bell and Reed -- making triples on four of Vanderbilt's last five possessions at the time. The Dores scored the first nine buckets of the quarter and took its first lead on a bucket underneath from Overbeck at the 6:34 mark. Middle was able to regain its lead but it was neck-and-neck the rest of the quarter, with neither team taking more than a two-possession lead the remainder of the quarter as the visitors took a 30-26 halftime lead.
The Blue Raiders came out and extended their lead to a game-high 10 points with just 1:30 off the clock forcing head coach Stephanie White to call a timeout early to regroup. The Commodores couldn't get much going and saw the visitors take a double-digit lead at the 8:46 mark that they wouldn't relinquish throughout the quarter.
Despite trailing by as many as 10 points in the quarter, the Commodores cut the lead to two possessions, 57-51, with 2:34 left but the Blue Raiders closed the game on an 8-4 spurt to earn the win.
Inside the Lane
-Today was the first meeting between Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee -- schools separated by just 34.3 miles - since the 2012 NCAA Tournament and was the first regular-season meeting between the two teams since the 1991-92 season.
-Commodore freshman Chelsie Hall made her first career start in tonight's opener and scored the first bucket of the season. Purdue transfer Bree Horrocks also made her first career start in a Commodore uniform.
-The Blue Raiders take a 9-8 series lead with tonight's win and snap Vanderbilt's four-game win streak against Middle Tennessee.
-Christa Bell moves just 254 points away from 1,000 and Rachel Bell is just 159 points away.
-Head coach Stephanie White moves to 1-1 in season opener and home openers at Vanderbilt.
Stat of the Game
The Commodores held the Blue Raiders to just eight points in the second quarter on 3-of-14 shooting (21.4 percent).
The Commodores will hit the road for its next two games. First up is a trip to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan to take on Central Michigan on Tuesday, Nov. 14.
Next Five Games
Nov. 14 -- at Central Michigan, 6 PM
Nov. 17 -- at Tulane, 12 PM
Nov. 20 -- vs. Ball State, 12 PM
Nov. 23 -- at George Washington, 12:30 PM^
Nov. 24 -- vs. Syracuse, 2:30 PM^
^- Paradise Jam (Washington, D.C.)
All game times CENTRAL
Keep Up with the Commodores
For more information on the Vanderbilt women's basketball team check them out on the website at www.vucommodores.com , Twitter at @VandyWBB., Instagram at @VandyWBB and on Facebook at Vandy Hoops.