Balcomb wins No. 300 as 'Dores trounce Troy

Dec. 10, 2015

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Highlights | Balcomb Interview | Jenkins & Reed Interview l Postgame photos

By David Dawson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Throughout her coaching career, Melanie Balcomb has been best known for her work as an offensive strategist. But her 300th win at Vanderbilt came on a night when her defense stole the show.

Suffocating the nation's highest-scoring team by forcing 25 turnovers, the Commodores breezed to a 97-43 victory over Troy on Thursday night and extended their winning streak to seven games.

Christa Reed scored a season-high 19 points, going 5-of-6 from 3-point range, and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. Jasmine Jenkins added 17 points and seven assists for the Commodores (8-2).

Balcomb -- who is in her 14th season at Vanderbilt and is the program's all-time leader in wins -- improved her record to 300-137 since her arrival in Nashville.

"It honestly just means that I get another (commemorative) ball," said Balcomb with a smile. "I'm probably just going to take the ball home or something. Because, really, what means the most to me, is that I've got to experience so many great players and coaches. I mean, nobody does this by themselves."

The Commodores received contributions from a host of players in the win. Rebekah Dahlman came off the bench to score 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting and Morgan Batey added 13 points. All 12 players on the Vanderbilt roster saw action, and 11 of them reached the scoring column.

Amanda Mendoze led Troy (3-3) with 10 points.

Troy entered the game averaging a nation's-best 97.4 points per game and was ranked No. 5 in the country in field-goal percentage at 50.5 percent. But the Commodore defense -- ranked No. 14 nationally in points allowed per game -- kept the Trojans out of sync throughout the night. Vanderbilt limited Troy to 21 percent shooting from the floor (14-of-64).

"I think our players were excited to see where they were, defensively," said Balcomb. "Obviously, any team that's scored as many points as (Troy) has -- no matter who they've played -- they're doing something right. … We really took it as a challenge to see if we could hold them under 50 points, and we were able to do that."

The Commodores limited Troy to eight points in the first quarter and nine in the second while storming out to a 46-17 halftime lead. Vanderbilt's defense surrendered just six first-half field goals and forced 15 turnovers.

It was more of the same in the second half, as the Commodores continued the lock down. Troy's Kelley Beverly, who entered the game averaging 21 points per contest, finished with just two points, going 1-of-13 from the floor.

Vanderbilt also put together plenty of impressive numbers on the offensivee end.

Reed helped steer the charge, going 7-of-10 from the floor. The sophomore guard, who missed most of last season with an ankle injury, knocked down three 3-pointers in the first 2:19 of the second half.

"I really want to attribute that to my teammates," said Reed. "Coming into the game, we wanted to focus on sharing the ball and screening better, and those are things that we did in that three-minute period that got me the shots."

The Commodores jumped out to a 22-4 lead in the first 8 1/2 minutes of the game, stretched the advantage to 33-10 midway through the second quarter and steadily padded the lead from there.

Vanderbilt's next game is Dec. 21 against UT-Martin. The long break between games is for final exams.

"Over this 10-day break, we want to be consistent in practice so that it carries over to the next game," said Jenkins. "Playing well tonight doesn't mean anything unless it carries over."



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