The Vanderbilt women’s basketball team officially kicks off the 2017-18 season on Sunday, with their first official practice. The Commodores are under the direction of second-year head coach Stephanie White and have three seniors in Christa Reed, Myka Dancy and Rachel Bell.
Here are several storylines heading into the 2017-18 season:
Lots of Scoring Returning
The Commodores return 77.5 percent of their scoring from a season ago, led by senior guard Rachel Bell’s 11.3 points per game last season which led the team. Vanderbilt returns their top four scorers from a season ago including SEC All-Freshman Team selections Kayla Overbeck and Erin Whalen who averaged 9.4 and 9.1 points per game, respectively.
Last year, the Commodores were ranked among the nation’s best in three-point field goal percentage. Vanderbilt closed the season ranked No. 6 nationally, shooting at a .386 clip from long range while leading the SEC in triples per game with 7.1 per game. The Dores return two of their top three sharpshooters from 2016-17 in Kaleigh Clemons-Green (.449) and Christa Reed (.446).
The Commodores will be very young with just four upperclassmen on the roster this season in Rachel Bell, Myka Dancy, Christa Reed and graduate transfer Bree Horrocks. In total, of Vanderbilt’s 14 players just seniors Bell, Dancy and Reed have donned the Black and Gold for more than a year. In total, Vanderbilt welcomes six newcomers including four freshmen for 2017-18.
Summer International Experience
This summer several Commodores got international experience. Sophomore Kayla Overbeck spent some time with USA Basketball’s Women's U19 team that competed for World Cup in July, winning a silver medal while Boston College transfer Mariella Fasoula played on the Greek national team that advanced to the semifinals of the FIBA European Championships and also played on Greece’s U20 FIBAS team at the FIBA Under 20 European Championships.
25th Anniversary of 1993 Final Four Team
This season marks the 25th Anniversary of the 1993 Vanderbilt team that went to the NCAA Final Four. Vanderbilt, under the direction of Jim Foster, reached the Final Four for the first and only time in program history and were a No. 1 seed out of the SEC. Vanderbilt defeated Cal, Stephen F. Austin and Louisiana Tech en route to the Final Four in Atlanta They were defeated by eventual national champion, Texas Tech. The Commodores will commemorate this team throughout the season. The Commodores will celebrate that team the weekend of Feb. 3-4 when they take on Tennessee in Memorial Gym.
Big Names on the Schedule
The Commodores will be tested early and often this season. Vanderbilt will take on nine teams that played in the NCAA Tournament in 2016-17, including national champion South Carolina and Final Four participant Mississippi State. The non-conference slate will see Vanderbilt play the likes of Middle Tennessee, Iowa State, NC State, Louisville, and Syracuse. The Commodores will also make nine appearances on national television, with eight of those coming on the SEC Network and one on ESPNU.
Women's basketball season ticktes are on sale now. For more information on tickets call 615.322.GOLD (4653) or 1-877-44-VANDY.