Preview: Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee Tech

Dec. 16, 2016

Teams: Vanderbilt (9-1) vs. Tennessee Tech (3-8)
Day, Date: Sunday, Dec. 18
Tip-off time: 2 p.m. (CT)
Site: Memorial Gym (Nashville, Tenn.)
Radio: WNSR 560 AM / 95.9 FM
TV: SECN+ (Online: ESPN3. Link: HERE)
Game Notes: Vanderbilt Game Notes (TTU) Get Acrobat Reader l Tennessee Tech Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

With final exams behind them, it's back to the business of basketball for the Vanderbilt women's team. The Commodores, who are off to a 9-1 start under first-year head coach Stephanie White, are set to host Tennessee Tech (3-8) on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Memorial Gym. The game, which will feature the annual Teddy Bear Toss promotion (details below), will be the first contest since Dec. 8 for the Commodores, who are riding an eight-game winning streak. The game will also be a homecoming for Tennessee Tech first-year head coach Kim Rosamond, who served as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt for nine seasons. Here's a closer look at the game:

l Update on the Commodores: Vanderbilt (9-1), which has been idle since Dec. 8, entered the weekend tied with Arkansas for the second-best record in the SEC, trailing only No. 5-ranked Mississippi State (10-0). … The Commodores haven't tasted defeat in over a month, dating back to a 94-61 loss at Indiana on Nov. 13. Vanderbilt has won eight straight since then. … The Commodores, who are 5-0 at home this season, are led in scoring by a trio of double-digit scorers: Rachel Bell is averaging a team-high 13.0 points per game, Christa Reed is averaging 11.5, and Rebekah Dahlman is averaging 11.4. … Marqu'es Webb is Vanderbilt's top rebounder, and ranks among the SEC's best, with 9.9 boards per game.

l What's trending: The Commodores have established themselves as one of the most accurate and most prolific 3-point shooting teams in the country. They lead the SEC and rank sixth in the nation in 3-point accuracy at 42.2 percent. Vanderbilt also leads the SEC in 3-pointers made per game (8.1), total 3-pointers made (81) and 3-pointers attempted (192). … The Commodores rank second in the SEC and 20th in the nation in free throw percentage at 77.7 percent. VU ranks second in the SEC and 14th in the country in free throws made (164). … For the season, Vanderbilt has converted 164 free throws, which is almost as many free throws as their opponents have attempted (170). … (Note: Conference and national rankings in "What's trending" are through Friday afternoon).

l In elite company: Redshirt junior guard Rebekah Dahlman leads the SEC and ranks 17th in the country in free throw percentage at 91.7 percent. She also ranks 11th in the SEC at 3.6 assists per game … Senior post player Marqu'es Webb ranks fourth in the conference in rebounding at 9.9 per game. … Cierra Walker and Dahlman rank fifth and sixth, respectively, in the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.3 and 2.2.

l Fresh and Re-Fresh: Vanderbilt has captured SEC Freshman of the Week honors in each of the past two weeks, with Erin Whalen and Kayla Overbeck each winning the honor. Overbeck was given the award on Dec. 13 after scoring 18 points and pulling down 13 rebounds -- establishing new career highs in both categories -- during Vanderbilt's 80-72 road win over ETSU on Dec. 8. Overbeck went 8-of-9 from the foul line in the win and logged 29 minutes of playing time while notching her first career double-double. Whalen was named the SEC Freshman of the Week the previous week after averaging 17 points per game and shooting 59 percent from the floor -- making 16-of-27 shots -- during Vanderbilt's wins over Air Force, SIUE and Tulane.

l The lowdown on Tennessee Tech: The Golden Eagles, members of the Ohio Valley Conference, are under the direction of first-year head coach Kim Rosamond, who is a former Vanderbilt assistant. … Tennessee Tech has been steady on the defensive end this season. They are surrendering 64.5 points per game, which ranks near the middle of the pack (180th) among the 344 Division I schools. … The Golden Eagles have struggled on offense, averaging 58.6 points per game, which ranks 275th in the country. … Tennessee Tech has two players averaging double figures in scoring: Yaktavia "Shug" Hickson, a 5-11 junior guard, who is averaging 14.3 points per game, and Treyvonna Brooks, a 6-2 senior forward, who is averaging 10.1 points per game. … Brooks is the Golden Eagles' top rebounder at 6.9 per game. … Hickson ranks 82nd in the nation in free throws attempted (50) and 46th in nation in free throws made (42).

l Series History: Sunday's game is the 18th all-time meeting between the teams, but is just the second matchup since 1992. … Tennessee Tech owns a 10-7 lead in the series, although Vanderbilt has won five of the last six games. … The most recent game between the teams came on Dec. 1, 2012, when Vanderbilt posted a 77-50 victory at Memorial Gym. That game represented the first meeting between the teams since Feb. 27, 1992 … Vanderbilt is 6-2 all-time against Tennessee Tech in Nashville. The Golden Eagles' most recent win at Memorial Gym came on Jan. 12, 1981. Since then, VU has won six straight against Tennessee Tech in Nashville. … Tennessee Tech's most recent win in the series came on Jan. 31, 1991 in Cookeville.

l Teddy Bear Toss: Continuing a long-standing tradition, the Commodores will host the annual "Teddy Bear Toss" promotion at Sunday's game. This year's Teddy Bear Toss will benefit The Salvation Army Angel Tree Program. Fans are encouraged to bring a new Teddy Bear -- or a new stuffed animal of any kind -- to the game. At halftime, fans can participate in a contest in which they will attempt to throw the stuffed animals toward a target at midcourt. The person with the closest toss will receive a Vanderbilt prize pack. All of the stuffed animals from the contest will be donated to The Salvation Army Angel Tree Program. For more information, call 615-322-GOLD.

l Super substitutions: The Commodores are getting plenty of production off the bench this season. That's been especially true in the past two games, when the Vanderbilt reserves have outscored the opponents' bench by a combined total of 53-8 (including 30-4 against ETSU and 23-4 against Tulane). For the season, VU's bench has outscored the opponents' bench in eight of the first 10 games.

l On the radar: The Commodores have been among the teams receiving votes in the Associated Press Top-25 poll in each of the past two weeks. It is the first time since the preseason poll of the 2015-16 season that Vanderbilt has been in the "receiving votes" category. Vanderbilt was last ranked in the AP poll in Week 15 of the 2013-14 season, when the Commodores were ranked No. 16.

l December dominance: By winning their first five games this month, the Commodores have extended their tradition of December success. They've won 12 straight December games -- dating back to a loss to Dayton on Dec. 21, 2014 -- and have posted a 25-2 record in December since 2012.

l SEC strong: Vanderbilt is not the only SEC team off to hot start this season. Entering the weekend, the 14 SEC teams had combined for an 109-28 record. However, the SEC teams have a combined record of 23-21 against the other Power-5 conferences (entering the weekend).

l Milestone for Marqu'es Senior post player Marqu'es Webb notched her 500th career rebound in the first quarter of Vanderbilt's win against Air Force on Dec. 2. … Webb ranks seventh among active SEC players in career rebounds with 539 (entering the weekend).

l Last time out: Freshman Kayla Overbeck had 18 points and 13 rebounds -- establishing new career highs in both categories -- to help Vanderbilt earn an 80-72 road win over ETSU on Dec. 8. The victory enabled the Commodores (9-1) to extend their winning streak to eight games. Christa Reed scored a team-high 20 points and Rachel Bell added 19 for the Commodores, who withstood an explosive performance by ETSU's Tianna Tarter. The junior guard scored a game-high 35 points, going 15-of-28 from the floor, for the Bucs (5-5). Vanderbilt dominated the glass during the comeback victory, winning the rebounding battle 53-27. The Commodores trailed by as many as 12 points in the first quarter and were behind 50-43 with 6:58 left in the third. But Vanderbilt charged back with a 14-2 run -- which started with a jumper and a 3-pointer from Cierra Walker -- to take a 57-52 lead with 1:07 left in the quarter. Overbeck scored eight points and pulled down five rebounds in the fourth quarter, and Reed went 5-of-6 from the foul line in the final 10 minutes to help the Commodores secure the win.

l Most recent meeting vs. Tennessee Tech: Led by Tiffany Clarke's 17 points and seven rebounds, Vanderbilt sailed past Tennessee Tech, 77-50, on Dec. 1, 2012, at Memorial Gym in the most recent game against the Golden Eagles. The Commodores opened the game with a 15-0 run to set the tone for the victory. Vanderbilt shot 50 percent from the floor, making 27-of-54 shots. Elan Brown finished with 10 points, Morgan Batey had nine and Jasmine Lister had eight. Kady Schrann and Gabby Smith scored seven each.

l This and that: Vanderbilt has three players who rank among the SEC's Top-10 in career 3-pointers among active players: Rebekah Dahlman ranks sixth with 115, Christa Reed ranks ninth with 89, and Rachel Bell is 10th with 85. … The Commodores finished November with a 5-1 record, marking the first time since the 2011 that Vanderbilt emerged from November with less than two losses. … The Commodores made 14 3-pointers against Kennesaw State in the season opener(finishing 14-of-26), which represents the most 3-pointers by an SEC team in a game this season.

l Mad success at Memorial Gym: The Commodores have won 15 straight non-conference games on their home floor, dating back to a loss to Dayton on Dec. 21, 2014. … Vanderbilt has gone 45-2 against non-conference foes on its home floor since the start of the 2010-11 season.

l Dancy with the stars: Junior guard Myka Dancy played a significant role in Vanderbilt's win over SIUE on Dec. 3. Dancy played a career-high 13 minutes in the victory and scored a career-high five points. She was in the starting lineup to open the second half, and played the entire third quarter. Dancy finished 2-of-5 from the floor and also added a free throw.

l New leader: Stephanie White is in her first season with the Commodores after being named head coach in May. Becoming just the fifth head coach in the program's history, White replaced former head coach Melanie Balcomb, who resigned in April after 14 seasons with the team. White came to Vanderbilt after spending two seasons as head coach of the WNBA's Indiana Fever. She led the team to the playoffs each season, including guiding the Fever to the 2015 WNBA Finals in her rookie season to become the first rookie coach in league history to take a team to the finals. During her playing career, she was a standout at Purdue, where she earned national player of the year honors after helping lead the Boilermakers to the 1999 NCAA championship. Her coach that season was Carolyn Peck, who now serves on White's staff at Vanderbilt.

l Looking ahead: After Sunday's game, the Commodores welcome No. 8-ranked Louisville to Memorial Gym on Wednesday.



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