Dec. 30, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- When Vanderbilt freshman Marqu'es Webb takes the floor for tonight's game against UAB at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, it will bring back memories for multiple reasons.
For starters, this is the same venue where Webb walked across the stage last spring and received her high school diploma during Hoover High's graduation ceremonies.
Also, tonight's game will feature a match-up between Webb and one of her former high school teammates, Kayla Anderson, who is a 6-0 sophomore forward for the Blazers.
Webb and Anderson played together at Hoover High during the 2011-12 season, and they teamed up to help Hoover win the 6-A state championship. Anderson was a senior that year, and Webb was a junior.
Webb and Anderson were also teammates on the AAU circuit, and their friendship dates back several years, Webb said.
"I've known for Kayla for a while, and we're pretty close," said Webb. "She's a great player and a great person."
Webb said she and Anderson often hang out together -- even in non-basketball settings -- and said they spent some time together earlier this month when Webb came home to Alabama for Christmas break.
Tonight, though, the friendship will be put on hold for a couple of hours when the Commodores (10-2) face the Blazers (8-4). Vanderbilt carries a seven-game winning streak into its final non-conference game of the season.
"It will be fun," said Webb. "(Kayla and I) are both competitive. But afterwards, it will back to normal."
Webb laughingly said that she and Anderson will be "frenemies" tonight -- a term used to describe the combination of friends and enemies.
Anderson has started all 12 games for the Blazers this season, and is averaging 5.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Webb has likewise been a steady contributor for the Commodores, averaging 8.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. She is also shooting a team-high 57.6 percent from the floor.
Webb said she is expecting to have a large number of family and friends at tonight's game, including members of the Hoover High faculty and coaching staff.
In other Vanderbilt news:
DOZEN IT FEEL GREAT?: By going 4-0 this month, the Commodores (10-2) have stretched their December winning streak to a dozen.
Vanderbilt's 12-game December winning streak began with a win over Florida State on Dec. 22, 2011. The Commodores went 6-0 in December last season.
BACK TO BUSINESS: When the Commodores take the floor today, they will be playing their first game in more than a week. Their most recent action before today was Dec. 21, when the Commodores downed UNC Asheville, 83-57, at Memorial Gym.
As is the case most years, Vanderbilt's schedule in December was somewhat light because of a long layoff for final exams followed by the holiday break. The Commodores played just three games during a 3½-week stretch from Dec. 4 through Dec. 29.
PERFECT IN THE SERIES: Vanderbilt enters today's game with a 5-0 all-time record against UAB in a series that dates back to the 1985-86 season.
The most recent matchup between the teams came last season, when the Commodores downed the Blazers, 69-54, on Nov. 15 in Nashville.
Today marks the third time the Commodores have traveled to Birmingham to face UAB. The Commodores beat the Blazers, 85-63, in "the magic city" during the 2006-07 season and also posted a 76-60 win over UAB in the first-ever meeting between teams on Jan. 3, 1986 in Birmingham.
Vanderbilt's other wins over UAB came in Nashville during the 1986-87 and 2007-08 seasons.