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1. The Commodores will hit the hardwood one last time before the holiday break when they welcome crosstown rival, Belmont to Memorial Gym for a Thursday afternoon matinee with a 12 pm tipoff. Thursday’s game will be the third 12 noon tip for the Commodores this season and will be the third consecutive home game for Vanderbilt after spending the majority of November on the road.
2. Vanderbilt is coming off an 83-72 loss to NC State on Tuesday night. Rachel Bell, who scored her 1,000th career point, led the offense with a game-high 21 points while Christa Reed (12 points) and Cierra Walker and Kayla Overbeck (10 points) also reached double figures. Overbeck also lead the rebounding efforts with a game-high nine rebounds. With the win, the Wolfpack have won the last two meetings in the series and moved to 4-2 overall.
3. Thursday’s matchup with Belmont marks the second mid-Tennessee team the Commodores will take on this season. Vanderbilt opened the season against Middle Tennessee on Nov. 11 and will face Belmont and Lipscomb in the non-conference slate. In total, the Dores will face five teams, including Tennessee twice in SEC action, from the state of Tennessee this season. Vanderbilt leads the series with Belmont, 10-4, and has won the last eight meetings with the last coming in 2014-15.
4. Rachel Bell became the 37th member of Vanderbilt’s 1,000-polint club in the Commodores last outing against NC State. With 39 seconds left in the game, the Cumberland Furnace native, hit a jumper to push her over the mark. Bell is the first Vanderbilt player to reach 1,000 points since the 2012-13 season, when the Dores had three players reach the milestone. Bell is currently sitting at 1,002 career points has a chance to move into the top 25 by the end of the season.
5. The Commodores debuted new lineups in both its game against Memphis and NC State with several players earning their first starts of the season in the last two outings. Kayla Overbeck started against Memphis while Cierra Walker earned her first start of the season against NC State. On the season, Vanderbilt has used just four lineups and has gone primarily with Rachel Bell, Chelsie Hall, Kaleigh Clemons-Green, Autumn Newby and Christa Reed. Those five have been the starters in each of Vanderbilt’s win.
Setting the Scene
The Commodores continue their four-game homestand when they take on Belmont on Thursday. The Dores and Bruins will square off at 12 pm from Memorial Gym. The matchup is the third 12 pm start for the Commodores this season.
Last Time Out
Vanderbilt was on the wrong end of an 83-72 loss to NC State on Thursday. Rachel Bell scored 21 points to lead all-scorers and reached the 1,000-point milestone in the contest while Kayla Overbeck led all-rebounders with nine boards.
Sophomore guard Cierra Walker made her first start of the season against the Wolfpack, marking the second newcomer to the starting lineup in as many games.
The loss was the third straight for the Commodores and gives NC State a 4-2 advantage in the series.
Belmont enters the game with a 9-3 record after falling to Wright State, 91-81 on Monday. Kylee Smith lead the offense with 19.0 points per game. Darby Maggard, and Sally McCabe are also in double figures with 16.8 and 13.8 points, respectively. Jenny Roy leads the defense with 7.8 rebounds per game.
The Commodores and Bruins have a common opponent in Lipscomb. Belmont defeated the Lady Bison and Vanderbilt will close the non-conference slate with Lipscomb on Dec. 28.
With A Win
The Commodores will move to 4-9 on the season and will stop their three-game skid after winning back-to-back games against Saint Louis and Iowa State.
Give Vanderbilt its ninth straight victory in the series.
Big RPI Opportunities on Tap for the Dores
The Commodores are going to have several opportunities to move up the RPI rankings in its next several games. Vanderbilt will have two opportunities against top 75 opponents in NC State (52) and Belmont (72). Additionally, the Commodores will open SEC action at LSU who is currently No. 90 in the RPI rankings. According to RealTimeRPI, the Commodores strength of schedule is No. 19 and atop the SEC with South Carolina coming in just behind Vanderbilt at No. 21.
Home Sweet Memorial
The Commodores will be back in the friendly-confines of Memorial Gym for its next three games. The Dores opened a four-game home stretch on Saturday vs. Memphis. The upcoming four game home stretch will be the longest of the season although the Dores will have a three-game homestand in SEC play in mid-January when they host Missouri, Kentucky and South Carolina. Vanderbilt is quite successful at Memorial Gym sporting a 468-121 all-time record with only one sub-.500 home record, during the 1982-83 season in 40 seasons played at Memorial.
Tennessee Foes on Tap
Saturday’s matchup with Memphis was the first of three matchups with foes from Tennessee in the next four games. Vanderbilt has already squared off with Middle Tennessee to open the season and will face three other Tennessee foes including two games with Tennessee in SEC action. When the non-conference is all set and done, the Dores will have played three teams from the Middle Tennessee area in Middle Tennessee, Belmont and Lipscomb.
Bell Makes it 1,000
Senior guard Rachel Bell became the 37th member of Vanderbilt’s 1,000-point club against NC State with a jumper with 39 seconds left in the contest. Bell, who now has 1,002 career points, is the first Commodore to reach 1,000 since the 2012-13 season when the Dores had three players reach the mark. Bell is just a point out of the 36th spot and has a chance to move into the top 25 by the end of the season.
Familiar Faces on the Belmont Sideline
Thursday’s game will be a homecoming for Belmont assistant coach Amy Mahlo, who played for the Commodores from 2005-09. Mahlo played in two SEC Tournament championships and reached the Sweet 16 twice. Additionally, Belmont’s leading scorer Kylee Smith started her career on West End in 2013-14 before transferring to Belmont.
Cierra Gets the Starting Nod
Cierra Walker earned her first start of the season against NC State. Walker, who started 12 games as a freshman, had 10 points, four rebounds and 3 assists in 37 minutes against the NC State.