Complete tourney statistics
Less than 24 hours after being scolded for not properly using the long winter break to improve their games, Vanderbilt's bowling team exploded with one of its best days in program history.
The Commodores won four of five games - the one loss by a scant pin - and entered the school record book with the second-highest traditional game score in history. The reward for the day's massive pin total was a leap from fourth place into second heading into the championship bracket at the Mid-Winter Classic.
"I thought we were decent the whole day," said Coach John Williamson. "We did a very good job of regrouping from round to round and that allowed us to attack instead of being complacent."
The Commodores stuck with the same rotation of Bryanna Leyen, Kristin Quah, Adel Wahner, Jordan Newham and Maria Bulanova all day. Although Quah and Bulanova typically are the team's lead dogs in traditional games, Williamson cited the other trio's performance.
"While they had their moments, it was not the sharpest day for Kristin and Maria," Williamson observed. "But Bryanna, Adel and Jordan - they were something to see. Bryanna stayed the course after starting a little slow, kept making quality shots and her last game of 276 is one of our best ever. Adel is sneaky steady; she doesn't wow you but her consistency is impressive. It is nice to see someone that works hard get rewarded."
Wahner finished fifth individually to lead Vanderbilt and in the process will make her first all-tournament team when it is officially announced Sunday. Newham was seventh, Leyen ninth, Bulanova 11th and Quah 13th as VU dominated the Top 15.
Nebraska was unbeaten over two days in addition to notching the top pin total. Sam Houston got the third seed and McKendree was fourth to round out the teams with a shot at winning the title. Host Arkansas State slipped into fifth place. Vanderbilt takes on the 10-0 Huskers in Sunday's curtain-raiser with the winner getting an automatic spot in the championship game.
Vanderbilt topped Alabama A&M with 999 pins, lost to fifth ranked Sam Houston by a 1,045-1,044 margin, beat Maryville (1,098 pins), crushed No. 11 Central Missouri with the 1,196 score and closed by pounding Lincoln University with 1,114.
The Commodores' last three game pin total - 3,408, a 1,136 average - is one of the program's best closing surges in memory.
In the Central Missouri match, Leyen contributed a 222 with a four-bagger, Quah enjoyed a 248 with six in a row at one point, Wahner had a turkey in crafting a 212, Newham closed with five of the last six for a nifty 256 and Bulanova began with the front six in notching a 258.
The school record of 1,236 was set Nov. 1, 2014 at the FDU Jamboree. Amanda Fry led off that game with a 289, Nicole Mosesso had a 214, Rebeca Reguero added a 227, Giselle Poss chipped in a 258 and anchor Robyn Renslow closed with a 248.
Sunday's play gets underway at 8:30 (CST), streamed on the team's Facebook page.