BLACKSBURG, Va. - Vanderbilt ran its win streak to five on Wednesday afternoon with a 72-51 victory over Delaware in the opening game of the Hilton Garden Classic played at Virginia Tech's Cassel Coliseum.
Four players scored in double figures for Vanderbilt, who improved to 9-3 overall. Delaware dropped to 6-4 on the year. The Commodores were led by Angela Puleo who came off the bench to score a season-high 15 points on 5-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Puleo's 15 points were a fraction of the 47 bench points scored by the Commodores, which limited Delaware to just 13 bench points.
Also reaching double figures for Vanderbilt was senior Hannah Tuomi who scored 11 points en route to becoming the 32nd player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. Tuomi entered the game needing six points to reach the milestone, which she hit on her first of two free throws at the 8:16 mark of the first half.
Tuomi's 11 points moved her into a tie for 30th in school history with Caroline Williams (1,005 points).
"I'm definitely honored to join the 1,000-point club," Tuomi said. "I've worked hard to get to this point, but it isn't all about the points scored. Vanderbilt has a great history and I'm happy to have my name mentioned in the same breath as so many outstanding players."
Although Vanderbilt posted a 21-point win against Delaware, the game did not come easily to the Commodores in the early going. Vanderbilt got off to a slow start against the Blue Hens, hitting just two of their first 12 shots. Because of Vanderbilt's cold shooting, Delaware was able to take a six-point lead before the Commodores would bury Delaware with a 21-0 run to take a 15-point lead with just over 5:27 to play in the first half.
"The entire team contributed to this win," Tuomi added. "Everybody came to this game ready to play and really put forth the effort that we needed."
Delaware was able to cut Vanderbilt's lead to 12 at the half, 35-23, but that would be as close as the Blue Hens would get the rest of the game. Delaware was without the services of the nation's leading scorer, Elena Delle Donne, who did not make the trip to Virginia Tech after missing the team's previous game due to fatigue. The Blue Hens are now 0-3 this season when Delle Donne has not played.
During the decisive run, Puleo went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc and Stephanie Holzer scored six points. The Commodores would extend their lead in the second half and led by as many as 25 with 6:01 to play.
The Commodroes have won three straight games by 20-plus points and have not allowed an opponent to reach 60 points during that span.
Vanderbilt will face Virginia Tech in the Hilton Garden Classic Championship Game at 6 p.m. CT on Thursday.