Nov. 22, 2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Vanderbilt women's basketball team moved to 4-0 with a 79-56 victory over Sam Houston State in action on Tuesday, November 22, at Memorial Gymnasium. The Bearkats fell to 2-1.
The frontcourt led the Commodores, including a double-double from junior forward Tiffany Clarke (19 points, 10 rebounds). Redshirt sophomore center Stephanie Holzer added 13 points and five rebounds, while redshirt freshman forward Clair Watkins notched 12 points and six rebounds, both career highs.
The post play became a point of emphasis for Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb after the Commodores struggled early.
"We talked at halftime about getting the ball inside and really going to our strengths," said Balcomb.
The Commodores led, 36-30, at the break. After starting 1-8 from the field and trailing, 6-2, Vanderbilt started to heat up, going on an 11-0 run to take a 17-7 lead. The deficit marked the first time this season Vanderbilt trailed by more than one point. Balcomb knew Sam Houston State would put up a fight.
"They were ready to play and they played hard," Balcomb said. "We weren't prepared, but it was good for us. They are a good team and kept coming at us and dictated the pace. This will make us better."
Sam Houston State was led by 19 points from Britni Martin, who also grabbed five rebounds. Sequeena Thomas added a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Angela Beadle contributed 13 points and six rebounds.
After continuing to struggle from the field, the Commodores again used great defense to open a lead. They held the Bearkats scoreless for a stretch of 8:06, going on an 18-0 run to open up a 57-36 lead. Vanderbilt was able to hold on from there, leading by as many as 23 points during the second half.
The Bearkats managed to stay in the contest by taking advantage of 23 Vanderbilt turnovers to the tune of 22 points. However, post play and depth helped the Commodores wear Sam Houston State down. Vanderbilt outscored the Bearkats in the paint, 48-18, as well as off the bench, 40-1.
Holzer and Clarke agreed that the Commodores will be better for the wear following the contest.
"We tend to play in spurts, but we've got to start turning those spurts into consistent effort.," explained Holzer.
"(Tonight was) the kind of play that will help us when we get into the SEC. It was definitely good for us," added Clarke.
Vanderbilt returns to action on Friday, November 25, in its annual Thanksgiving Tournament at Memorial Gymnasium. The Commodores open the tourney at 2:00 p.m., hosting Lipscomb, followed by Liberty vs. No. 13/14 Oklahoma.
The teams return on Saturday, November 26, with the consolation game at 2:00 p.m. and the championship game at 4:00 p.m. Admission is free and prizes will be given out at each media timeout of the contests featuring the Commodores.