NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The 12th-ranked Vanderbilt women's basketball team opened the 2008-09 season with a 85-51 win over visiting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Friday night at Memorial Gymnasium.
Junior Merideth Marsh scored a team-high 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting from 3-point range, all in the first half.
The Islanders kept the game close in the opening 10 minutes before a 16-4 Vanderbilt run gave the Commodores a 31-15 lead late in the first half. Marsh scored the last nine points of the run with 3-pointers on three consecutive trips.
"We had every open look we needed," Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb said. "I think we had a little pregame jitters on offense. I thought we continued to play good defense, and eventually we hit our shots."
Only three Commodores scored in the first half, as Marsh's 15 was coupled with 12 points from sophomore Hannah Tuomi and nine from Southeastern Conference Player of the Year candidate Christina Wirth. Eventually, 10 of the 12 Commodores that saw action in the game would find their way onto the scoreboard.
"That's what you want in the first game," Balcomb said. "You want to break it open enough... and we were able to do that after the first half. We have to continue to play defense. At halftime, we had 19 points just off our defense. "
A number of new career highs were established for the Commodores, including sophomore point guard Jence Rhoads dishing out a personal-best nine assists against zero turnovers. Sophomore Chanel Chisholm notched a career-high by scoring nine points.
Freshman Tia Gibbs scored four points in 13 minutes during her collegiate debut.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi's Jade Davis led all scorers with 16 points.
Vanderbilt travels north on Interstate-65 this weekend, playing at Western Kentucky's E.A. Diddle Arena on Sunday, Nov. 16, for a 2 p.m. CT tip-off.