Dec. 22, 2011
Box Score | Howell's Photos | Highlights | Balcomb Postgame | Players Postgame
NASHVILLE, Tenn. --The No. 25/23 Vanderbilt women's basketball team improved to 11-1 with a 64-59 victory over ACC foe Florida State on Thursday, December 22, at Memorial Gym. The Seminoles fell to 6-6.
In a game that was won on defensive end and the glass, Vanderbilt center Stephanie Holzerpaved the way, scoring 17 points and matching a career-high 13 rebounds to collect her sixth career double-double.
It was the defensive efforts of the Vanderbilt post players that proved pivotal, as Holzer and company held Florida State's Cierra Bravard, who was honorable mention All-America a season ago, to four points. Bravard struggled to even get attempts in the post, as she shot just 1-for-4 from the field.
Florida State was led by 16 points off the bench from Chelsea Davis, while Chasity Clayton and Alexa Deluzio each added 15 points. Clatyon recorded a double-double, pulling down a team-high 11 rebounds.
Holzer, like many Commodores, struggled to get going offensively. Head Coach Melanie Balcombfeels her ability to push through shows how she has grown as a player.
"Steph talked herself out of (the early slump)," Balcomb said. "She handled herself very well emotionally. This was a heated game (versus Florida State) last year. The game for Steph this year was much more solid, mature and intelligent. She handled this game well."
Holzer even stepped up to make two huge free throws with 18 seconds remaining, giving Vanderbilt the final margin of 64-59. It gave the Commodores revenge for a 72-66 loss in Tallahassee a season ago.
"It was a big time moment and different people have stepped up in big time moments for us all year," Holzer explained. "I needed to make those free throws not for me, but for the team to win."
Turnovers proved to be a major factor in the contest. Vanderbilt forced 24 Seminole turnovers, scoring 19 points off those miscues. Florida State scored only 11 points off 17 Commodore turnovers.
Both teams struggled to score early on. It took nearly three minutes for Vanderbilt to score the first points of the game, a layup by Holzer at the 17:12 mark. Florida State could not get on the board until 15:06 mark when Chelsea Davis connected for a jumper.
The opening period remained low-scoring, with both teams shooting less than 35% from the field (31.4% for Vanderbilt, 34.8% for Florida State). There were also 24 combined turnovers in the period (nine by VU, 15 by FSU). Neither team led by more than five points, with the Commodores taking a five-point lead, 27-22, into the break.
Foggie led the way on the scoreboard in the first half, but it was Holzer's nine rebounds in the frame that really set the tone for Vanderbilt. The defensive play of Holzer and Clarke held Bravard, who was averaging 17.5 coming into the contest, scoreless.
When asked if the sluggish start may have been a product of the players scattering to their homes across the country tomorrow for the Christmas holiday, Foggie maintained the Commodores were focused on the task at hand.
"We had to take care of business and get the win first," Foggie said.
The Commodores did get the win and they will return to action on Thursday, December 29, when they play host to Western Carolina. Tipoff at Memorial Gym in Vanderbilt's final non-conference game of the season is set for 7:00 p.m.