Dec. 21, 2010
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Western Kentucky took Vanderbilt to overtime last season, and early on Tuesday it appeared that the Lady Toppers would again take the Commodores down to the wire in both teams' final game before Christmas break.
However, the Commodores had other plans for how they would begin their holiday break.
After trailing by as many as seven points in the first half, the Commodores (8-3) turned the tables on Western Kentucky (4-7) midway through the first half and never looked back en route to a 74-48 win in front of the largest crowd of the season at Memorial Gym.
Vanderbilt trailed 16-9 with 11:28 to play in the first half before outscoring WKU 58-19 over the next 24:37 of the game to take a commanding 67-35 lead with 6:51 to play.
"We hadn't played a team like this," Balcomb said. "That's what preseason is for. They had the athleticism, the defense, the pressure that we face in the SEC. They came out and it took us a while to adjust to it."
One game after playing in front of 300 of her friends and family at Duquesne on Sunday, Rhoads played her best game of the season, finishing with a season-high 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting. It was Rhoads' fifth 20-point game of her career.
Western Kentucky, which had won four of its previous five games scored the first basket of the second half to pull within four, 28-24, before Vanderbilt put the game out of reach by going on a 22-4 run to extend its lead to 50-28 with 11:59 to play.
The win was Vanderbilt's fourth in a row and sixth straight against Western Kentucky. The Commodores finished their non-conference home slate undefeated (7-0) for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
"We are headed in the right direction and we finally look like Vanderbilt basketball," Rhoads said. "We are starting to click on offense and our defense is starting to work better. We have a long way to go obviously, but I think we are moving in the right direction."
Vanderbilt had four players score in double figures, including freshman Christina Foggie, who went 11-for-11 from the charity stripe. Foggie's performance at the line was the ninth-best in school history. Also reaching double figures were Hannah Tuomi (13) and Jasmine Lister (12).
The Commodores made a season-low two three-pointers on 12 attempts, but converted 18 Western Kentucky turnovers into 28 points, while WKU scored just five points on 12 VU miscues.
Vanderbilt also held Western Kentucky to 26.2 (17-of-65) percent shooting and just 7.7 (1-of-13) percent from beyond the arc. WKU started the game 6-of-11 from the floor.
At halftime of Tuesday's game Vanderbilt held a Teddy Bear Toss to Benefit Toys for Tots. Vanderbilt collected over 300 stuffed animals for the cause.
Vanderbilt will break for Christmas and return to practice on Dec. 26 in preparation for the Hilton Garden Classic, which begins Dec. 29 against Delaware in Blacksburg, Va. Vanderbilt's next home game will not be until Jan. 6 against Mississippi State.