Nov. 14, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Vanderbilt women's basketball team woke up just in the nick of time Thursday night.
The RV/No. 25 Commodores trailed for much of the night before seniors Jasmine Lister and Christina Foggie took the game over and paved the way for a 73-67 victory over stubborn Delaware State at Memorial Gym.
Vanderbilt (3-0) trailed by 11 points at the half and was down 48-38 at the 13:25 mark of the second half before getting off the deck and outscoring the Hornets 35-19 the rest of the way.
Foggie finished with a double-double, scoring 16 points and pulling down a career-high 10 rebounds. She narrowly missed a triple-double, adding eight assists.
Lister scored 15 points on 7-of-15 shooting and made a series of huge plays down the stretch.
Two underclassmen, freshman Kylee Smith and sophomore Heather Bowe, also were instrumental in the victory, producing timely baskets in the second half to help Vanderbilt avoid the upset.
Bowe finished with eight points and seven rebounds, and Smith had nine points, five rebounds and two assists for the Commodores, who host Marquette on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Vanderbilt has now won 32 of its past 35 home games, but the Commodores hardly felt like celebrating after Thursday's victory. Vanderbilt came into the night as substantial favorites against a Delaware State team that lost its season opener to Old Dominion, 97-67.
But the Hornets gave Vanderbilt a huge scare, and Vanderbilt's victory wasn't secured until the last two minutes.
"It's definitely better to learn form a win than a loss, but we want to play Vanderbilt basketball," said Foggie. "We have a lot to learn from (this game). ... Its good that we could fight back and compete and get the win."
The Commodores hadn't faced much adversity in their first two games, but there was plenty of tense moments Thursday. It certainly appeared an upset might be in the making when Delaware State owned a double-digit lead with roughly 13 minutes to play.
But the Commodores staged their late rally to avoid what would have been a stunning defeat.
And while head coach Melanie Balcomb wasn't pleased with her team's overall performance, she was encouraged by the amount of resolve the Commodores showed.
"I challenged them at halftime and they did make a change -- a big change," Balcomb said.
Lister helped jumpstart the Vanderbilt offense in the second half by knocking down a 3-pointer from the top of the key and she followed that with a layup that trimmed the deficit to 38-32.
Later, Smith added two huge baskets -- a 3-pointer and a bucket in the paint -- to bring the Commodores within one, 52-51, with 8:54 to play, and a pair of free throws by Jasmine Jenkins put Vanderbilt ahead, 53-52.
Delaware State then made one last push and retook the lead, 57-55, but the Commodores answered with a 16-5 run to build a 71-60 advantage and held on from there to move to 3-0.
"I think we really changed our mentality," said Lister. "In the first half we were playing as a bunch of individuals, so the focus [at halftime] was to play together more."
Struggling with their shots and careless with the ball, the Commodores endured a frustrating first half. They shot just 25 percent from the floor (8-of-32) and committed 18 turnovers, 12 of which occurred in the first 11 minutes.
Vanderbilt was held scoreless for more than six minutes during two separate stretches in the half. Morgan Batey and Foggie teamed up to go 4-of-8 from the field, but the rest of the team combined to make only 4-of-24 (16 percent) shots.
But Vanderbilt found new life in the second half, and managed to rally for the victory. Lister said the Commodores learned an important lesson.
"An adjustment we need to make is our preparation in practice," she said. "(We need to take) every single workout, every single practice more seriously."