No. 13 Vanderbilt Women Host St. Francis (Pa.) in Season Opener 11-19-0411/19/2004
No. 13 Vanderbilt opens the 2004-05 women's basketball season when the Commodores host defending Northeast Conference Champions St. Francis (Pa.) Friday night in Memorial Gymnasium in the first game of a doubleheader with the men's team. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.
Prior to the women's tip-off attention will be directed to a new banner hanging in the Memorial Gymnasium rafters recognizing Vanderbilt's run to the 2004 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 as well as the 2004 Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship.
Vanderbilt finished its exhibition season undefeated knocking off the Ohio Legends, 72-42, and EA Sports, 81-72. Seniors Ashley Earley and Abi Ramsey led the team in both wins. Earley scored 19 points and grabbed a game-high 19 rebounds in the win over EA Sports. Ramsey led four players in double figures with a team-high 13 points in the win over the Legends.
The Commodores enter the season ranked No. 13 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today's Coaches Poll. Sophomore forward Carla Thomas was named Preseason All-SEC as well as one of 50 preseason candidates for the Naismith Trophy. Vanderbilt brings a 43-game nonconference home winning-streak into the 2004-05 season. The streak began back on Nov. 19, 1999, with an 81-57 win over George Washington and was most recently extended on Jan. 5, 2004, with a dominating 91-40 win over Savannah State.
St. Francis (Pa.) captured the 2004 Northeast Conference Tournament Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season. The Red Flash enter the 2004-05 season as the NEC Preseason Favorite to capture the league title for the fourth straight season. Senior center Beth Swink, the NEC's reigning Player of the Year, is back to lead the Red Flash. Swink averaged 21.3 points per game and grabbed 9.7 rebounds per game last season as a junior. The Red Flash won its only exhibiton game of the preseason, 75-54, over the same Ohio Legends team that Vanderbilt defeated. Swink scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds and recorded five assists in the win over the Legends. Bolten and Christin Black each scored 11 points in the exhibition win.
The Commodores head to Savannah, Ga. to take on Savannah State Monday night at 7 p.m. VU returns home next weekend to host its annual Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament next Friday and Saturday.