Vanderbilt (13-6, 4-2 SEC) at #19/19 Kentucky (14-4, 4-2 SEC) Date: Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011 Time: 3 p.m. CT Location: Lexington, Ky. Venue: Memorial Coliseum (8,500) Radio: 560 AM (Charlie Mattos) TV: ESPNU (Anne Marie Anderson, play-by-play; LaChina Robinson, analyst) Webcast: ESPN3.com Series: Vanderbilt leads 27-13 Last Meeting: February 14, 2010 (Vanderbilt 68 - Kentucky 55 (Nashville)
Vanderbilt will face its third straight ranked opponent on Sunday when the Commodores travel to Lexington, Ky., to face No. 19 Kentucky at 3 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
The Commodores (13-6, 4-2 SEC) are coming off a 65-54 win over Arkansas on Thursday, which vaulted Vanderbilt into fourth place in the SEC standings. Kentucky (14-4, 4-2 SEC) enters the game coming off of a one-point win at Florida and has won three straight after enduring a three-game skid to open January.
Sunday will be Vanderbilt’s second nationally televised game of the season and second in eight days after playing at Tennessee on ESPN’s College GameDay on Jan. 15. The game will be called by Anne Marie Anderson (play-by-play) and LaChina Robinson (analyst).
On Thursday, Vanderbilt used a 21-5 second-half run to break open a tie game and improve to 10-0 at home this season. It was also Vanderbilt’s eighth straight win in the series with Arkansas.
Kentucky began the year 11-1 overall before losing three straight at Duke, Arkansas and at home against Georgia. The loss to Georgia is the Wildcats’ only loss at home this season after going 17-0 at Memorial Coliseum last season.
There are three common opponents between Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Both teams defeated UT Martin and Mississippi State at home and while Vanderbilt topped Arkansas at home, the Wildcats lost at Arkansas, 78-67.
Sunday’s game will air on 560 AM in Nashville with longtime play-by-play announcer Charlie Mattos on the call. The game will be webcast on ESPN3.com and fans may listen to the audio of the game online by subscribing to All-Access on VUCommodores.com.
Last Time Out An early-evening snow shower caused a gridlock on Nashville’s roadways and limited the crowd size at Memorial Gym on Thursday, but it could not slow down Vanderbilt, who kept its undefeated home record intact by knocking off No. 23/24 Arkansas 65-54 in a key early-season conference game Thursday at Memorial Gym.
The win was Vanderbilt’s first of the season against a ranked foe and moved the Commodores (13-6, 4-2 SEC) into sole possession of fourth place in the SEC. Arkansas dropped to 15-3 overall and 3-3 in the league.
Vanderbilt took a three-point lead into the locker room, but Arkansas scored the first three points of the second half to tie the game for the first time since the 16:56 mark of the first half.
Arkansas looked well on its way to continuing its string of close contests with the Commodores after having battled to overtime in two of the previous three contests. However, Arkansas was never able to take the lead in the second half as Vanderbilt went on a 21-5 run from that point forward to take a 16-point lead with 10:09 to play.
Arkansas would not recover.
Vanderbilt was paced by freshman Jasmine Lister, who scored 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. Her five makes were a career high and tied a season high for the Commodores. Stephanie Holzer added 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while also matching a career high with four blocks.
Jence Rhoads added 13 points and set a career high with nine rebounds, finishing just one board shy of her third career double-double.
About Kentucky Kentucky is coming off a season in which it went to the elite eight and finished 28-8 overall. The Wildcats finished 17-0 at home last season and have just one loss on their home court this season.
Kentucky started the season 11-1 overall before losing three straight games at Duke and Arkansas and at home against Georgia.
The Wildcats are coached by Matthew Mitchell, who is in his fourth season in Lexington. In addition to taking Kentucky to the NCAA Tournament last season, Mitchell has guided UK to two WNITs.
Kentucky was picked to finish second in the SEC after returning four of five starters, including reigning SEC Player of the Year, Victoria Dunlap.
Kentucky Series Vanderbilt is 27-13 all-time against Kentucky. The Commodores have won 14 of 15 in the series and had won 13 straight in the series before losing 63-53 at Kentucky last season. Vanderbilt is 10-8 all-time at Kentucky. Head Coach Melanie Balcomb is 10-1 all-time against Kentucky.
Rhoads Nearing Rare Company Senior Jence Rhoads is well on her way to becoming the second player in school history to score 1,000 points, have 500 assists and collect 400 rebounds. Rhonda Blades (92-95) is the only other player to accomplish this feat. Rhoads recently topped 1,000 points and enters Sunday’s game with 488 assists and 371 rebounds.
70 is the Magic Number Vanderbilt is 13-1 when it holds an opponent to less than 70 points and 0-5 when an opponent scores at least 70 points. The only loss came at Tennessee when the Lady Vols scored 68. Vanderbilt is also 10-0 when its scores at least 70 points.
Ranked Opponents on the Road Vanderbilt’s last win over a ranked opponent on the road was Feb. 3, 2008 at Georgia (61-54). Vanderbilt has lost six straight on the road against ranked foes since then. Two of those losses have come this season to Florida State and Tennessee.
Bumpy Road Vanderbilt started 0-3 on the road for the first time since the 1998-99 season and were 1-5 and and now 2-6 on the road. VU is averaging 75.9 points per game in nine home games and 69 points per game in eight road games. Even more telling is Vanderbilt defense at home and away. VU is giving up 70 points on the road and just 56.9 points at home. The 1-5 start on the road was the team’s worst since posting the same mark in 1998-99.
Lister Regaining Her Stroke Jasmine Lister began the season on fire from beyond the arc, hitting 49.2% (31-63) of her three-pointers before the team broke for the holidays on Dec. 22. However, in the seven games following Christmas, Lister made just 21.5% of her threes (11-51). Lister may have found her stroke again against Arkansas on Jan. 20 when she made a career-high 5-of-7 threes.
Rhoads Reaches 1,000 Points Jence Rhoads became the 33rd player to reach 1,000 career points after scoring 10 points at Tennessee on Feb. 13. Rhoads is the second Vanderbilt player to reach 1,000 career points this season.
On Dec. 29, teammate Hannah Tuomi scored 11 points against Delaware to become the 32nd player in school history to reach 1,000 career points.
Generous Commodores Vanderbilt leads the SEC in assists (16.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.1).
Holzer Becoming a Force Redshirt freshman Stephanie Holzer has fared well in VU’s last five games, averaging 12.8 points, 8.2 rebounds. Holzer posted the fourth double-double of her career and second in three games at Alabama, collecting 10 rebounds to go along with 17 points.
Vanderbilt vs. Ranked Foes The Commodores are 1-2 this season against ranked opponents after beating No. 23/24 Arkansas Jan. 20 and will get their fourth crack at a top-25 foe on Sunday. Vanderbilt was 3-6 against ranked opponents last season, but were 2-1 at home.