RV/- Vanderbilt (17-8, 8-4 SEC) at Miss. St. (10-14, 2-10 SEC) Date: Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 Time: 7 p.m. CT Location: Starkville, Miss. Venue: Humphrey Coliseum (10,500) Radio: 560 AM (Charlie Mattos) TV: None Webcast: mstateathletics.com Series: Mississippi State leads 30-14 Last Meeting: January 6, 2011 (Vanderbilt 65 - Mississippi State 44 (Nashville))
After having its four-game win streak halted on Sunday by Tennessee, Vanderbilt will look to make a final push up the SEC standings with just four games remaining in the regular season, beginning Thursday at 7 p.m. CT at Mississippi State.
Vanderbilt (17-8, 8-4 SEC) defeated Mississippi State (10-14, 2-10 SEC) 65-44 on Jan. 6 in Nashville, but the Commodores have lost two straight in Starkville. Vanderbilt had lost three straight against the Bulldogs before defeating them earlier this season.
The Commodores entered their game against Tennessee in second place in the SEC standings, but the loss coupled by Kentucky and Georgia wins, moved Vanderbilt back to fourth in the standings. Vanderbilt had moved from fifth to second during its four-game win streak.
Mississippi State is coming off a 60-53 loss to South Carolina on Sunday, but had won its previous two games at Auburn and at Ole Miss. The Bulldogs are currently in last place in the SEC.
Thursday’s game will be Vanderbilt’s last regular season game that is not televised. Fans can listen to the game in Nashville on 560 AM with the voice of Vanderbilt women’s basketball, Charlie Mattos, on the call. Fans may also listen online by subscribing to All-Access on VUCommodores.com. Mississippi State will also provide a webcast for subscribers to Maroon to the Max on mstateathletics.com.
In the previous meeting with Mississippi State, Vanderbilt opened a 17-point first half lead and never looked back after blowing double digit leads in its previous two games, both losses. Vanderbilt led by as many as 25 in the second half, despite shooting 34.5 percent from the floor.
Mississippi State is led by Mary Kathryn Govero and Diamber Johnson, who both average close to 12 points in a game. In the previous meeting, Vanderbilt held the two to 2-of-20 shooting and five total points.
Last Time Out Looking to move to 13-0 at home for the first time in school history, Vanderbilt lost a 13-point lead in a 65-57 loss to Tennessee. Vanderbilt held Tennessee to just 15 points in the first half, third fewest in school history, but the Lady Vols scored 50 points in the second half.
Vanderbilt led 39-28 before Tennessee went on a 16-3 run to give UT a 44-42 lead with 5:15 to play. It was Tennessee’s first lead since 5-2. Vanderbilt would lead again, 49-47, with 4:23 to play, but Tennessee then went on an 8-0 run to take the lead for good.
Jence Rhoads led Vanderbilt with 15 points and Hannah Tuomi collected 12 rebounds. Vanderbilt shot 37.7% from the floor, while Tennessee shot 37.9%.
About Mississippi State Following its loss to Vanderbilt in January, Mississippi State lost its next eight games and had a 10-game losing streak dating back to its game before facing the Commodores. The Bulldogs ended their losing streak by posting wins at Auburn and at Ole Miss and have now won two of their last three. On Sunday, Mississippi State lost 60-53 against South Carolina.
Although, Vanderbilt defeated Mississippi State earlier this year, the Bulldogs have had Vanderbilt’s number as of late. Vanderbilt has dropped three of the last four to Mississippi State. Vanderbilt has lost two straight at Mississippi State and its last win in Starkville came on Feb. 15, 2007. The Commodores were swept last year by the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State finished 21-13 overall, 9-7 SEC and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament last year.
Vanderbilt leads the all-time series 30-14 and is 9-10 in Starkville. Vanderbilt is 17-2 at home against MSU. Head Coach Melanie Balcomb is 6-4 against Mississippi State and 4-1 against the Bulldogs at home. Balcomb is 2-3 in Starkville.
Commodores Close Strong Under Balcomb Before losing against Tennessee, Vanderbilt had won four straight. The Commodores are once again finding their groove just as the end of the regular season nears. Under Coach Balcomb, Vanderbilt has closed the regular season about as well as any team in the league. Since Balcomb’s first season (2002-03), Vanderbilt is 54-18 (75%) all-time in its final nine regular season games.
Even more impressive is Vanderbilt’s record in the team’s final nine games against teams besides Tennessee. Vanderbilt is 54-8 (87%) under Balcomb in the team’s final nine games against opponents besides Tennessee.
One Win from 200 in SEC Vanderbilt needs one more win to have 200 total in SEC play. Tennessee, LSU and Georgia are the only other teams to reach 200 league wins. Vanderbilt is currently 199-142 in SEC play.
Tied for Best Home Start in School History Vanderbilt had its first home loss of the season against Tennessee and dropped to 12-1 at home this season.
Vanderbilt was looking to become the first team in school history to start 13-0 at home. The 12-0 start matched Vanderbilt’s best home start in school history with the 2001-02 and 1992-93 teams. This is the 34th season of Vanderbilt basketball.
As for consecutive wins at home spanning multiple seasons, Vanderbilt most recently won 13 straight games from the end of the 2005-06 season through the start of the 2006-07 season. This year, the Commodores finished their non-conference slate undefeated (7-0) for the first time since going 9-0 during the 2006-07 season.
Chantelle Anderson’s Jersey Retired Chantelle Anderson (2000-03) had her jersey retired in a halftime ceremony during the Feb. 13 Tennessee game. Anderson scored more points than any player in school history - male or female. She is also the program’s only two-time Kodak All-American.
Anderson is the fourth player to have her jersey retired, joining Clyde Lee (43) and Perry Wallace (25) on the men’s side and Wendy Scholtens (40) from the women’s team.
Vanderbilt does not retire numbers, only jerseys, thus, Anderson’s No. 21 will still be available to future student-athletes.
Not Living by the Three Vanderbilt has long been known as a team with outstanding three-point shooting. The Commodores are again terrific from beyond the arc, but in the last four games Vanderbilt has not made more than five three-pointers in a game and has made 14 threes during that span.
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 has already topped 1,000 points and 500 assists and enters Thursday’s game with 396 rebounds.
Lister Regaining Her Stroke from Three 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 found her stroke again against Arkansas on Jan. 20 when she made a career-high 5-of-7 threes. Since the Arkansas game, Lister has made 15-of-33 three-pointers (45.4%).
Tuomi on the Block Although undersized in the post, Hannah Tuomi has been a force in the paint for Vanderbilt as of late. For the first time this season, Tuomi has posted back-to-back double figure rebounding games. In her last three games, Tuomi is averaging 15.3 points and 10.3 rebounds.
Holzer in Double Figures Stephanie Holzer has scored in double figures in four straight games for the first time in her career. During that span, Holzer is averaging 16.7 points per game.
70 is the Magic Number Vanderbilt is 16-2 when it holds an opponent to less than 70 points and 1-6 when an opponent scores at least 70 points. The only losses when an opponent scored less than 70 came against Tennessee when the Lady Vols scored 68 and 65. The only win when an opponent scored more than 70 was the double overtime win at Florida. Vanderbilt is also 12-0 when its scores at least 70 points.
Two Straight on the Road After starting the year 2-7 on the road, Vanderbilt has won two straight away from home. The winning streak on the road is Vanderbilt’s longest of the season.
Strong Defensive Efforts as of Late With the exception of Vanderbilt’s double overtime win at Florida, Vanderbilt has had strong defensive efforts as of late. No opponent has topped 40% shooting against Vanderbilt since Tennessee (40.3%) on Jan. 15 (seven straight games).
Against Tennessee on Feb. 13, Vanderbilt held UT to just 15 first half points, the third fewest in Tennessee history. Tennessee was also held to a season-low 20% shooting in the half.
The Commodores held Ole Miss to 42 points and 25.4 percent shooting - both season lows for a Vanderbilt opponent. The 42 points were the fewest by a VU opponent since UT Martin scored 29 on Dec. 21, 2008. The field-goal percentage was also the lowest since UT Martin shot 17.6% from the floor in the same game.
Against LSU, Vanderbilt held the Lady Tigers to just 21 first half points and 1-of-15 (6.7%) shooting from beyond the arc.