Dec. 19, 2010
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Before Sunday, Vanderbilt’s women’s basketball team had played three games away from Memorial Gymnasium and had lost all three. The Commodores’ road blues ended on Sunday at the A.J. Palumbo Center where Vanderblt handed Duquesne an 80-59 loss.
Playing in front of a large Vanderbilt contingent that was on hand to watch three Commodores with roots in the Keystone State, the ‘Dores posted maybe their most impressive win of the season as they won their third straight game to improve to 7-3 overall, while dealing Duquesne just their second loss of the season (8-2) and snapping the Duke’s seven-game winning streak.
Vanderbilt held an eight-point lead at the half, 42-34, but Duquesne was able to trim VU’s lead to four, 42-38, with 19:06 to play. Vanderbilt would extend its lead back to eight before Duquesne would cut the lead to four again (59-55) with 9:40 to play.
Just as Duquesne was seemingly inching closer, Vanderbilt buried the Dukes with a 21-4 run to take its largest lead of the game, 80-59, with 33 seconds to play. Vanderbilt held Duquesne without a field goal the last 7:49 of the game.
“I can’t put it into words how important (the win) was,” Head Coach Melanie Balcomb said. “They earned this win today and finally got enjoy the hard work they put in.”
Four players scored in double figures for the Commodores, led by Jasmine Lister, who poured in a career-high 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Fellow freshman Christina Foggie returned to the lineup to score 17 points after missing the last three games due to a concussion.
Also scoring in double figures were Slippery Rock, Pa., native Jence Rhoads, who scored 12 points, including 10 in the second half, and Gabby Smith who added 10.
Vanderbilt was able to open up a sizeable lead in the first half by going on a 13-0 run after trailing 14-13 with 10:42 to play. Vanderbilt would extend its lead to as many as 13 in the first half after Christina Foggie hit her fourth three-pointer of the half to give Vanderbilt a 40-27 lead with 2:01 to play. Foggie finished the half with a game-high 12 points.
Vanderbilt received a boost from a crowd that included two busses full of supporters from her hometown, which is just north of Pittsburgh. Senior forward Rebecca Silinski, who was born in Pittsburgh and has many family members in the area, also had a large number of fans in attendance. In recognition of the two seniors, fans hung a banner from the second deck that read “Welcome Home Pittsburgh’s Favorite Commodores.”
Vanderbilt will play its final game before breaking for Christmas on Tuesday when the Commodores host Western Kentucky at 7 p.m. Fans are encouraged to bring a teddy bear to the game and participate in the Teddy Bear Toss to benefit Toys for Tots. The Teddy Bear Toss will be held at halftime.