Highlights | Balcomb Interview | Dahlman & Webb Interview
By David Dawson
NASHVILLE -- Vanderbilt finished strong during Friday's win against Austin Peay. Next, the Commodores will try to finish the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament in that same manner.
Fueled by big performances from Minta Spears, Marqu'es Webb and Rebekah Dahlman, the Commodores posted a 73-56 win over Austin Peay in the opener of the two-day tournament. Vanderbilt (3-2) closed the game on 25-8 run over the final 7½ minutes to fight off the feisty Governors (2-5) in front of a crowd of 2,447.
Vanderbilt will play Ohio in tomorrow's championship game at 2:30 p.m. Ohio defeated Indiana, 63-56, in Friday's second game.
Dahlman finished with a season-high 17 points and Webb added 12 points and seven rebounds for Commodores, who improved their all-time mark in the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament to 29-0.
Minta Spears also played a large role in the win, finishing with an impressive stat line of 14 assists and no turnovers to go along with two points and two rebounds. Her assist total tied the third-best single-game mark in Vanderbilt history.
"I can't say enough about her leadership," head coach Melanie Balcomb said about Spears, who joined the Vanderbilt program this summer after transferring from Texas Tech. "She is is so steady and she makes great decisions."
Kristen Gaffney had 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting and pulled down seven rebounds in the victory.
Falon Baker led Austin Peay with 20 points, going 6-of-8 from 3-point range. Tiasha Gray added 16 points.
Vanderbilt seemed to be comfortably in control midway through the third quarter, when the Commodores owned a 47-34 lead. But Austin Peay roared back with a 14-1 run, capped by Baker's 3-pointer, to tie the game at 48-48 with 7:29 left in the game.
Vanderbilt, however, answered back with a big run of its run, reeling off 19 straight points to again establish control. The huge surge -- which started with a three-point play by Webb, followed by a 3-pointer from Dahlman -- gave Vanderbilt a 67-48 lead with 2:24 remaining, and the Commodores eased home from there. Morgan Batey scored seven points during the run, and finished with nine.
"It all started with defense," said Webb. "We picked up the intensity on that end of the floor, and it changed the game."
Vanderbilt shot 57 percent from the floor for the game and 10 players reached the scoring column for the Commodores.