Nov. 25, 2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Head Coach Melanie Balcomb called it her team's most complete performance of the year, as Vanderbilt used a 17-0 run to open the game before cruising to an 81-39 win over Lipscomb in the opening game of its annual Thanksgiving Tournament. The Commodores stand at 5-0, while the Lady Bisons fall to 0-6.
Vanderbilt played some of its best defense of the year, holding the Lady Bisons to 26.4% shooting (14-53) in the contest and forcing 26 turnovers, good for 31 Vandy points.
Redshirt sophomore Stephanie Holzer led the way for the Commodores, scoring 17 points while adding four rebounds, four steals and a pair of blocks. Junior Tiffany Clarke was right behind with her second-straight double-double, scoring 15 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.
Vanderbilt also had a pair of guards reach double-figures in sophomore Christina Foggie and freshman Kady Schrann, who each scored 11 points. Freshman Maggie Morrison had an outstanding game at point guard, dishing out seven assists.
Every Vanderbilt player who dressed scored at least two points, including freshman walk-on Nadine Ndip, who hit her first collegiate free throws. Gabby Smith missed her fourth game of the season with a concussion.
Lipscomb was led by nine points from Anna Bowers. Sasha Robinson led the Lady Bisons on the boards with nine rebounds, while Morgan Faulkner dished out three assists.
"This was the best game we played all year," said Balcomb. "We played for 40 minutes the way we need to play. Our players were confident, unselfish, coachable and they were communicating. The offense was dictated by the defense and we rebounded."
Vanderbilt's defense was outstanding right out of the gate, holding Lipsomb without a point until the 11:46 mark when O'Neisha Smith connected on a free throw. The first Lipscomb field goal came three seconds later when Smith rebounded her own missed free throw and scored.
The Commodores athleticism was just too much for Lipscomb to overcome. Vanderbilt scored 31 points off turnovers, outscored the Lady Bisons in the paint, 44-14, and off the bench, 28-13.
Vanderbilt led at the half, 37-11. The 11 points marked the lowest total for an opponent at the half since it held Alabama A&M to eight in the opening stanza on November 22, 2005.
Holzer said a factor for the Commodores was their focus on Lipscomb, not a potential showdown with No. 13/14 Oklahoma in the championship game.
"We come into every game focusing on our opponent for that game," said Holzer. "We did not look past Lipscomb. We came out here with a game plan and did a really good job executing.
When asked what the biggest factor in the contest was, Morrison had a simple answer.
"Defense," said the freshman guard. "Our defense was very tough. We got our hands on a lot of (passes). Everyone is really trusting each other and when they need help we know someone's going to help."
The Commodores move on to the championship game of the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament. They will face the Sooners at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow, November 26, at Memorial Gym. Lipscomb will face Liberty at 2:00 p.m. Oklahoma defeated Liberty, 76-45, in the second semifinal.
Admission to the entire Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament is free of charge. Prizes, including tickets to Vanderbilt's home games versus Kentucky and Tennessee, will be given away at each media timeout of the championship game. In addition, the dunk team of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies will perform at halftime of both games.