Nov. 24, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
It's hard to classify a game in November as a "must-win" -- but Sunday's contest sure felt like one for Vanderbilt.
And the Commodores certainly responded as if it were.
Putting together their most solid 40-minute effort of the season, the hot-shooting Commodores snapped a two-game losing skid in emphatic fashion, storming past Dayton, 82-52, at Memorial Gym.
The RV/RV Commodores (4-2) shot 57 percent from the floor, including going 8-of-11 (72 percent) from 3-point range, and went 20-of-22 (90 percent) from the foul line while sailing past the RV/No. 24 Flyers.
Rebekah Dahlman scored a team high 17 points and Christina Foggie added 16. The two players combined to go 7-of-9 from 3-point range (Foggie was 4-of-5; Dahlman 3-of-4; ). Morgan Batey added 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Freshman Marques Webb also added 10 points while helping Vanderbilt gain revenge for last November's road loss to Dayton.
More importantly, the win helped the Commodores regain some momentum after they had suffered back-to-back setbacks -- losing to No. 2/2 Duke, 88-69, on the road on Thursday night and falling to Marquette last Sunday at home.
"Vanderbilt has a great tradition, and losing three games in a row is unacceptable," said Batey, who provided a huge boost off the bench with her energetic play. "We had to win this game."
After the teams battled to an 18-18 tie, Vanderbilt closed the first half with a 15-5 run to build a 33-23 lead. The Commodores then opened the second half with 17-8 spurt -- which included two 3s by Foggie and one by Jasmine Jenkins -- to push the advantage to 50-31, and they maintained a comfortable lead the rest of the way.
With Dahlman disrupting Dayton's offense by applying full court pressure, the Flyers endured a frustrating game in which they shot just 33.3 percent from the field and made only four of their 21 attempts from 3-point range (19 percent).
"(Dayton) is a great shooting team with a lot of firepower," said head coach Melanie Balcomb. "I felt like we wore them down, which I wanted to do. I think we made the right adjustments in our matchup that we needed to make."
Dayton's Ally Malott, who came into the game averaging 17.3 points per game, was held to five points on 2-of-9 shooting. Cassie Sant led the Flyers with 20 points.
Balcomb said the win over the Flyers -- who advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament last season -- was a prime example of what her team is capable of doing when they execute the game plan.
"Everybody was on the bus today, trying to execute, trying to do the same things and we were fun to watch," she said.
The Commodores got off to a slow start, trailing 8-2 early. But a 3-pointer by Foggie at the 14:48 mark ignited Vanderbilt's offense, and the Commodores ripped off a 16-4 run to grab an 18-12 lead with 8:33 left in the half. Dahlman capped the surge with a 3-pointer.
Dayton battled back to tie the game at 18-18, but Vanderbilt closed the half with its 15-5 spurt to build its 33-23 halftime lead.
Dahlman led all scorers with 10 points in the first half, going 3-of-3 from the floor (including a pair of 3-pointers) and 2-of-2 at the line. Foggie added eight first-half points for the Commodores, who shot 56.5 percent (13-of-23) from the field.
Vanderbilt's defense limited Dayton to 26.7 percent shooting (8-of-30), and the Flyers made just two of their 11 attempts (18 percent) from 3-point range.
Vanderbilt will host Elon on Friday in the opening round of the Thanksgiving Tournament at 4 p.m. That game will be followed by Wisconsin playing Mercer at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free for all games.