Vanderbilt (6-3) at Duquesne (8-1) Date: Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010 Time: 1 p.m. CT Location: Pittsburgh, Pa. Venue: A.J. Palumbo Center (5,358) Radio: 560 AM TV: None Webcast: goduquesne.com Series: Vanderbilt leads 2-0 Last Meeting: Dec. 6, 2003 in Nashville (Vanderbilt 92 - Duquesne 60)
After a 10-day break between games due to final exams, Vanderbilt’s women’s basketball team will return to the floor at 1 p.m. Sunday when the Commodores travel to Pittsburgh, Pa., to face Duquesne at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
Vanderbilt (6-3) is riding a two-game win streak, but enters its game with Duquense (8-1) in search of its first road win of the season after starting the year 0-3 away from Memorial Gymnasium. The Commodores’ last game was a 72-60 win over UT Martin on Dec. 9.
Sunday’s game will be a homecoming for a few Commodores who have ties to the Pittsburgh area. Senior Jence Rhoads hails from Slippery Rock, Pa., which is approximately one hour north of Pittsburgh. Rhoads was the 2007 Gatorade High School Player of the Year in Pennsylvania. Senior Rebecca Silinski was born in Pittsburgh and still has family in the area. Redshirt freshman Stephanie Holzer hails from Newtown Square, Pa., which is approximately five hours from Pittsburgh, and expects to have a large contingent of family at the game.
In the Commodores’ last two wins they have been led by senior forward Hannah Tuomi, who claimed SEC Co-Player of the Week honors on Monday after averaging 22.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in her last two games.
Duquesne is coached by Suzie McConnell-Serio, who is in her fourth season with the Dukes. McConnell-Serio is a Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer, who won WNBA Coach of the Year honors in Minnesota and won two gold medals as a player on the 1988 and 1992 U.S. Olympic teams after earning All-America honors at Penn State.
Sunday’s game will air on 560 AM in Nashville with veteran play-by-play announcer Charlie Mattos on the call. Fans may also listen to the game online by subscribing to All-Access on VUCommodores.com. The game will also be webcast on goduquesne.com for a fee.
Vanderbilt’s game against Duquesne will be its second to last game before the team breaks for the holidays. The Commodores will host Western Kentucky at 7 p.m. on Dec. 21. Individual tickets cost $6 and fans are encouraged to bring a teddy bear for a Teddy Bear Toss to benefit Toys for Tots at halftime.
Last Time Out For the third-straight game senior forward Hannah Tuomi had a stellar performance for the Commodores, shooting 7-for-7 from the field while recording her second double-double of the season as Vanderbilt topped UT Martin 72-60 Thursday at Memorial Gym.
The Commodores improved to 6-3 overall and stayed perfect at home with six wins, while UT Martin dropped to 4-5 overall with each of its first nine games coming on the road. The win was the second in a row for the Commodores who will begin final exams this weekend and will not play again for 10 days.
Vanderbilt went on a 13-0 run to open up a 24-9 lead with 8:30 remaining in the first half before UT Martin narrowed Vanderbilt’s lead to 27-24 with 3:38 to play in the half. Despite only shooting 2-of-15 from beyond the arc in the opening half, the Commodores headed into the locker room up 34-30 over the Skyhawks.
With Vanderbilt up 57-48 halfway through the second half, senior Jence Rhoads sparked a 9-0 run to give the Commodores a 16-point lead, the largest of the game, and the Commodores never looked back.
Tuomi grabbed 13 boards to go along with her 15 points to earn her second double-double of the season and eighth of her career. Against Samford on November 18, Tuomi scored 14 points and came down with 10 rebounds to help lead Vanderbilt to a 70-60 victory. The Commodores are now 6-2 when the Thornton, Colo., native records a double-double.
About Duquesne Duquesne was picked to finish sixth in the Atlantic 10 and is coming off back-to-back 20-win seasons and WNIT appearances. The Dukes are coached by Suzie McConnell-Serio, who is in her fourth season at Duquesne. Senior forward Samantha Pollino was selected second team preseason All-Atlantic 10 and is averaging 11.9 points and 5.8 rebounds. Junior guard Alex Gensler averages 12.8 points to pace the team. Freshman forward Wumi Agunbiade averages 11.4 points and 7.8 rebounds.
Vanderbilt is 2-0 all-time against Duquesne, including 1-0 in games at Duquesne. Vanderbilt last win in the series came Dec. 6, 2003 when the Commodores cruised to a 92-60 win at Memorial Gym. On Jan. 6, 2003, Vanderbilt posted a 78-56 win at Duquesne.
Tuomi Earns SEC Co-Player of the Week On Dec. 13, senior forward Hannah Tuomi earned SEC Co-Player of the Week honors after averaging 22 points and 8 rebounds, while making 80 percent of her shots (16-of-20) in wins against Southern Illinois and UT Martin. Tuomi set a career high with 29 points against Southern Illinois and then set a career high with 13 rebounds and posted her eighth career double-double against UT Martin.
For the season, Tuomi is shooting an astonishing 70.8 percent from the floor, which ranks second in the NCAA. She also leads the team in scoring average (15.6) and rebounding (6.9).
The SEC honor is the first of her career and first since Merideth Marsh earned SEC Player of the Week honors on Nov. 30, 2009.
Silinski Earns First Starts Senior Rebecca Silinski earned the first starts of her career in back to back games against Southern Illinois and UT Martin.
Balcomb Wins No. 200 Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb earned the 200th win of her career on Tuesday against Southern Illinois. Balcomb became the third coach to win 200 games at Vanderbilt, joining Phil Lee and Jim Foster. Balcomb is the fastest to reach 200 and did so in 275 games, five games sooner than Foster.
Road Blues Vanderbilt has started the season 0-3 on the road for the first time since the 1998-99 season when Vanderbilt lost at Oklahoma State, Miss. State and Indiana.
Lister Not Playing Like a Freshman Freshman guard Jasmine Lister has not looked like a freshman this season. The 5-foot-4 Lister is one of two players to start every game for Vanderbilt this season and is the only player to score in double figures in every game.
Commodores Lighting it Up Vanderbilt has been one of the most efficient offensive teams in the SEC this season. The team leads the league in field-goal percentage (48.8%), three-point field-goal percentage (39.4%) and free-throw percentage (70.4%).
Solving the Turnover Woes? Vanderbilt entered its game against Southern Illinois ranked 11th in the SEC in turnover margin (-0.1) and were averaging more turnovers (18.7) than any other team in the league. But against SIU, Vanderbilt committed a season low eight turnovers, which was its fewest turnovers since having seven against Maryland on March 28, 2009 in the NCAA Sweet 16. Against UT Martin, Vanderbilt committed just 12 turnovers. After the two games, VU moved to No. 7 in turnover margin (+1.2) and ranked 6th in turnovers per game (16.8).