NASHVILLE -- Head Coach Melanie Balcomb wanted her team to focus on defense right from the tip on Saturday against Tennessee Tech. The Commodores did just that, utilizing a 15-0 run to open the game, before cruising to a 77-50 victory at Memorial Gym.
The Commodores (5-3) were led by 17 points from Tiffany Clarke. The senior also grabbed seven rebounds. Classmate Elan Brown contributed 10 points and nine rebounds. Vanderbilt also got nine from Morgan Batey, eight from Jasmine Lister and seven each from Kady Schrann and Gabby Smith.
Tennessee Tech was led by 18 points from Diamond Henderson. T'Keyah Williams contributed 10 poins and five rebounds.
The 15-0 Vanderbilt run to open the contest was the best for a Commodore team to start a game since a 17-0 run against Lipscomb in last season's Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament. During the stretch, Tennessee Tech missed six field goals and turned the ball over twice.
In addition to stout defense, Vanderbilt shot 50% from the field (27-54). It marked the first time since the season opener against McNeese State that the Commodores shot at least 50% from the floor.
"I'm really proud of how we're executing," Balcomb said. "I think that's what's important. It's being able to slow down. As we start to trust our defense, you can play relaxed on offense."
Vanderbilt led the entire contest and the biggest lead of 27 points was the final margin. Balcomb felt her team played two complete halves for the first time this season.
"We just wanted to put two halves together to continue to build confidence," Balcomb said. "I think the most important part of that is the start of both halves."
Brown, who has emerged as the team's steadying force, seconded that notion.
"That was one of our goals, especially this past week," Brown explained. "Everyone was confident and ready for the game."
Vanderbilt was again without the services of Christina Foggie, who is day-to-day with a foot injury. The Commodores also played without freshman forward Kendall Shaw, who is day-to-day with a sprained knee.
Vanderbilt is back in action on Tuesday, December 4, when they return to the road at Western Kentucky. Tipoff in Bowling Green, Ky., is set for 7:00 p.m. CT.