Nov. 30, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
The Vanderbilt women's basketball coaching staff was reminded again on Saturday how thankful they are to have Jasmine Lister and Christina Foggie as members of the program.
And they are grateful to have some rising young stars, too.
Facing a stubborn Wiscosin team in the championship game of the Thanksgiving Tournament, the Commodores used the clutch play of Foggie and Lister -- combined with some pivotal plays from a trio of freshman -- to earn an 81-69 victory at Memorial Gym.
The win was the Commodores' third straight, and pushed them to 6-2 on the season. NR/RV Vanderbilt now owns a 28-0 all-time record in the Thanksgiving tourney.
Foggie scored a game-high 23 points, going 9-of-14 from the floor, and was named the tourney's MVP. Lister added 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting and was named to the All-Tournament Team. Both of them made huge plays down the stretch, helping Vanderbilt close the game on a 22-10 run to pull away from the Badgers (4-2).
"I told them after the game, 'The two of you played like seniors tonight,'" said head coach Melanie Balcomb about Foggie and Lister. "And they said, 'We had to. That's who we are.'"
The three freshman made big contributions, too. Kylee Smith finished with a career-high 16 points and helped Vanderbilt secure the win by making clutch free throws in the closing minutes. She also earned a spot on the All-Tournament team.
Marqu'es Webb added nine points and Rebekah Dahlman notched a team-high eight rebounds, the most of her young career.
Smith entered the night just 1-of-11 at the foul line for the season, and missed her first attempt of the game. But she was automatic after that, making six straight in the second half to help Vanderbilt pull away.
"The three freshman showed courage tonight," said Balcomb. "I was very excited about what they did."
Vanderbilt owned a 41-30 lead at the half, but Wisconsin charged back to tie the game on three occasions, the final time coming on a basket by Taylor Wurtz that tied the game at 59-59 with 8:18 to play.
Then the seniors stepped up. Again.
Foggie knocked down a 3-pointer that gave Vanderbilt the lead for good and sparked an 11-0 spurt by the Commodores. Lister's layup capped the surge, and Wisconsin never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.
Foggie said the Commodores fed off the lively crowd.
"They really gave us a lift," she said. "Even when (Wisconsin made its run), they didn't get quiet." Wurtz finished with a team-high 18 points for the Badgers and was named to the All-Tournament team.
The Commodores built their 41-30 lead at the half, thanks in large part to their aggressiveness on the glass. Vanderbilt out-rebounded the Badgers, 23-12, and were especially active on the offensive end, pulling down 10 offensive rebounds.
Vanderbilt's senior duo, Foggie and Lister, combined for 20 first-half points and went 8-of-14 from the floor. Foggie scored a team-high 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting, and Lister added nine points, going 4-of-6 from the field.
The Commodores opened the game on a 7-0 run, capped by a layup from Heather Bowe, and stretched the advantage to double-digits, 21-10, at the 11:45 mark of the first half on a layup by Foggie.
The lead swelled to 16 points, 31-15, after a 3-pointer by Foggie with 8:51 left in the half. Wisconsin then put together an 8-0 run to trim Vanderbilt's lead to 31-23, but the Commodores answered with an 8-2 spurt to rebuild a 14-point cushion.
Vanderbilt continues a stretch of four straight home on Dec. 3, when the Commodores host East Tennessee State.