Vanderbilt rallies from 17-point deficit, upends Wisconsin in Madison

Nov. 20, 2014

Box Score

MADISON, Wis. -- The Vanderbilt women used a fantastic finish to overcome a sloppy start.

After falling behind by 17 points in the first eight minutes, the Commodores charged back for a win in Wisconsin, using a dominating late-game performance to register a 67-58 victory.

Vanderbilt trailed by seven points at the half and was still down by seven, 48-41, with 15:31 to play. But the Commodores ripped off a 15-0 run to flip the game around, and they stayed in front from there to move to 3-0 on the season.

Redshirt freshman Rebekah Dahlman -- playing in front of a large collection of friends and family who made the drive from Minnesota -- helped fuel the big run, and finished with a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds. Freshman Paris Kea added 15 points and Kristen Gaffney had a career-high 12, including a reverse layup that helped Vanderbilt seize control. 

The game was the first road test of the season for the young Commodores, who have no seniors on the roster and had three true freshmen in the starting lineup.

"I think we had the 'deer-in-the-headlights' look on our faces at the start of the game, and the kids were overwhelmed," said Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb. "But I was so proud of the way we battled back. This is a huge win for us, especially in terms of confidence." 

Freshman Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau and Gaffney aided the big second-half run with a series of big plays and big shots. Caron-Goudreau finished with 11 points and six rebounds.

Michala Johnson finished with 17 for Wisconsin (1-1).

Vanderbilt's defense limited Wisconsin to just six field goals and 17 points in the second half.

"We made a defensive switch after the bad start, and that made all the difference," said Balcomb. "We kind of took off after that, and never looked back."

The night couldn't have started much worse for the Commodores, who were plagued by foul trouble and cold shooting in the opening minutes. After Marqu'es Webb scored the game's first bucket, Vanderbilt's offense went silent and Wisconsin reeled off 17 straight points to grab a 17-2 lead at the 14:30 mark. The Badgers soon extended the advantage to 21-4, which proved to be their largest lead of the night. 

The early Wisconsin surge led Balcomb to continuously substitute, and 11 Vanderbilt players saw action in the first eight minutes.

Eventually, though, the Commodores came to life. With Dahlman leading the way, Vanderbilt produced a 15-4 run to get back in the game. Dahlman made back-to-back layups to kickstart the surge, which enabled the Commodores to trim Wisconsin's lead to 25-17. 

The teams then essentially traded baskets for the rest of the half, and Wisconsin took a 41-34 lead into the half. Dahlman's buzzer-beating layup gave her a team-high 12 points at the break.

Vanderbilt overcame the slow start to shoot 50 percent from the floor in the first half, making 14 of 28 shots. Wisconsin shot 54 percent (17 of 31) in the opening 20 minutes.

Kea had eight first-half points for Vanderbilt, and Gaffney added seven, including a three-point play that helped the Commodores offense get in sync.



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