ESTERO, Fla. - The consolation round of the Gulf Coast Showcase wasn't very consoling for the Vanderbilt women.
Seeing an 11-point first-half lead slip away, the Commodores fell to Arizona State, 72-67, in the third-place game at Germain Arena.
The defeat meant that Vanderbilt (5-2) -- which suffered a lopsided loss to No. 3-ranked UConn on Saturday -- was denied of gaining a measure of revenge on Arizona State (5-1). The Sun Devils dealt the Commodores a season-ending loss in the first round of last year's NCAA Tournament.
Vanderbilt shot 65 percent in the first half of Sunday's game, and owned a 33-28 lead at the half. The Commodores were still up by five after the opening four minutes of the second half, but Arizona State used a 10-2 run to grab a five-point lead with 9:50 to go. The Sun Devils then hit three big 3-pointers in the final four minutes, including two by Arnecia Hawkins, to secure the win. Arizona State had not made a 3-pointer in the game until the late flurry from long range, two of which came with the shot clock running down.
Promise Amukamara scored a team-high 21 for the Sun Devils.
"Give Arizona State a lot of credit," said Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb. "They turned it up defensively in the second half, and they also hit some big 3-pointers just like they did against us last year."
Rebekah Dahlman scored a team-high 19 for the Commodores, and Kristen Gaffeny added a career-high 15, going 6-of-6 from the floor. Morgan Batey had 10 points and Christa Reed had nine.
"We had some highlights in this tournament; some things we can build on," said Balcomb. "But for now, we just need to keep moving along, keep getting better. Christa and Kristen certainly played well, but we're young and we're inconsistent."
Vanderbilt showed no signs of lingering effects from Saturday's loss to UConn, as the Commodores looked crisp on the offensive end throughout the first half while shooting 65 percent (15-of-23) from the floor and building a 33-28 halftime lead. Gaffney came off the bench and provided some scoring punch, going 4-of-4 from the field in the first 20 minutes. She and Dahlman each scored nine first-half points.
Arizona State also shot effectively in the first half, making 13-of-25 attempts (52 percent), but the Sun Devils missed all six of their attempts from 3-point range. Vanderbilt was 2-of-3 from behind the arc in the first half.
After the teams essentially traded baskets for the opening eight minutes, VU used a pair of baskets by Gaffney -- a tough shot in the lane and a jumper near the foul line -- to build a 19-12 lead at the 7:30 mark. The Commodores eventually stretched the lead to as much as 11 points, 27-16, after Reed hit a 3-pointer with 4:22 to play in the half. Arizona State closed the half on a 12-6 run to trim Vanderbilt's lead to 33-28.