By David Dawson
NASHVILLE -- The Vanderbilt freshmen continue to be impressive, but it was an upperclassmen who made the biggest impact in the Commodores win on Wednesday night.
Rebekah Dahlman, a redshirt junior, scored a career-high 25 points -- including going 15-of-18 at the foul line -- to help Vanderbilt fight off Drexel, 73-63, at Memorial Gym. The Commodores closed the game on a 10-1 run over the final 2:28 to stretch a one-point lead into the double-digit victory.
Marqu'es Webb finished with 12 rebounds, and freshman Kayla Overbeck had 10 points and six rebounds for Vanderbilt (2-1), which bounced back in strong fashion from Sunday's 94-61 road loss to No. 23 Indiana. Sarah Curran scored 19 points for Drexel (2-1), and Jessica Pellechio had 18.
Dahlman battled flu-like symptoms earlier in the week and had to miss practice. But she showed no signs of illness against Drexel, logging 33 minutes of playing time and filling up the stat sheet with six rebounds and five assists to go with her 25 points.
Christa Reed added 10 points, including a couple of big baskets in the fourth quarter that helped the Commodores hold off the Dragons.
Drexel finished 9-of-35 from 3-point range (25.7 percent). The Dragons -- who came into the night shooting 91 percent from the foul line -- finished just 2-of-3 at the line in the loss.
Vanderbilt feel behind 11-2 in the first 3½ minutes of the first quarter and trailed 19-15 at the end of period. The Dragons owned an eight-point lead late in the second quarter, but the Commodores closed the period on a 10-0 run to take a 34-32 lead at the half. Overbeck capped the surge with a short jumper with six seconds remaining in the period to give Vanderbilt its first lead of the night.
That set the stage for an intense second half during which the teams were never separated by more than five points until the final three minutes. Drexel took a one-point lead on two occasions in the fourth quarter, and the Dragons trailed only 63-62 with 2:28 to play. Dahlman then provided one of the night's biggest plays when she converted a 3-point play with 1:39 remaining to extend Vanderbilt's lead to 66-62. The Commodores sealed the win by making 7-of-8 free throws in the final 51 seconds. Vanderbilt finished 22-of-29 at the foul line.
The Commodores produced 17 assists on 22 field goals, and easily won the rebounding battle, 43-28.
Vanderbilt continues a three-game homestand on Sunday, hosting Duke at 2 p.m.
NOTE: Vanderbilt defeated Drexel by a nearly-identical score last season, winning 74-64 in Philadelphia.