NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Vanderbilt women faced a distinctive height disadvantage on Sunday. But it didn't prevent the Commodores from winning the rebounding battle -- or, more importantly, from winning the game.
Hosting a Duke team that has size to spare, the Commodores made a series of big plays down the stretch and notched a 77-73 victory over the previously undefeated Devils.
Christa Reed scored a game-high 19 points, and Marqu'es Webb added 10 points and matched her career high with 13 rebounds -- her third double-digit rebounding effort of the season -- for the Commodores (3-1). Cierra Walker and Rachel Bell had 12 points each, and Rebekah Dahlman had 11.
Lexie Brown led Duke (4-1) with 21 points, and Rebecca Greenwell added 17 for the RV/RV Devils.
The game was tied 71-71 after a pair of free throws by Brown with 1:16 to play in the fourth quarter. From there, the Commodores' defense came up huge -- including a pivotal steal by Reed with 1:01 to go -- to help Vanderbilt get to the finish line.
Webb hit a pair of free throws with 48 seconds left to give Vanderbilt a 73-71 lead, and the Commodores stayed in front of there. Vanderbilt secured the win with a couple of big rebounds, one on the defensive end by Webb with 26 seconds to play, followed by an offensive rebound by Walker -- after her own missed free throw -- with 23 seconds to go.
The Commodores made only 4-of-8 free throws in the final 23 seconds, but that proved to be just enough.
Neither team made a field goal in the final 2:06 of the fourth quarter.
Vanderbilt, which led 35-32 at the half, earned the win in large part due to a relentless effort on the glass. The Commodores collected 18 offensive rebounds in the game, and out-rebounded Duke 43-34 overall despite being outsized.
Duke had five players see action who are listed as 6-2 or taller, including a pair of 6-4 players (Oderah Chidom and Erin Mathias) in the starting lineup. Vanderbilt, by comparison, doesn't have any players taller than 6-1 on the roster.
The Commodores owned a 10-point lead, 49-39, after a layup by Rebekah Dahlman near the midway mark of the third quarter. But Duke closed the gap to 57-53 at the end of the period, and then tied the game on two occasions in the fourth quarter to set up the eventful final minute of action.
Vanderbilt hosts Robert Morris on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. in the annual Education Day game at Memorial Gym.
Marqu'es marching toward 500
Marqu'es Webb is zooming toward the 500-rebound mark for her career. With her 13 boards on Sunday, she now has 486. Webb has collected double-digit rebounding totals in three of Vanderbilt's four games this season.
Head coach Stephanie White praised the Vanderbilt crowd during Sunday's postgame press conference, saying the Commodore fans were "amazing, awesome." White also said that the Commodores "fed off the crowd." Dahlman and Webb agreed, with Dahlman saying "The crowd was great." Webb said: "Shout out to Commodore Nation."