Coming off three straight losses away from Nashville, Vanderbilt returned to Memorial Gym on Wednesday night to host the Austin Peay Lady Govs.
Vanderbilt began the game with a new starting lineup, which included all three of the team's seniors, Tiffany Clarke, Elan Brown, and Gabby Smith. With Christina Foggie sidelined with a foot injury, Smith was a starter for the first time this season. Jasmine Lister and Kady Schrann completed the starting five.
Tiffany Clarke's 10 points in the first half helped the Dores keep their noses above water. On the other hand, Vanderbilt's 15 first-half turnovers helped the Lady Govs to keep it close.
With Foggie sidelined, freshman guard Morgan Batey played 22 minutes scoring 11 points including two 3-pointers.
"Tiff is kind of spurt player, and we’re trying to get her more consistent," said Head Coach Melanie Balcomb after the game. "She gives us spurts that are phenomenal; we just need that consistent effort. Tonight I thought it was a consistent effort, and I thought she played through having some early fouls and not letting it take her out of the game."
Freshman point guard Jasmine Jenkins played for 21 minutes and shot a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. She also pulled down six rebounds.
"I think JJ has made some really good changes in practice," Coach Balcomb said. "I think it was a tough adjustment early on for [Jenkins and Batey] out of high school, and they’ve just been working really hard.
"I watched film with both of them today, and I actually saw some of the things we talked about translate right away into the game. That’s hard to do as a freshman," she continued.
"But I think they’re trying to learn, they’re putting in extra time, they’re working harder in practice, and they’ve become a lot more coachable and just starting to figure things out in the last two weeks, and I think as long as they keep the process, keep improving, then they’ll help this team a lot.
When Jenkins was playing the point, Jasmine Lister slid over to the 2-guard position.
With five minutes left in the first half, Vanderbilt took a 9-point lead at 25-16 when Gabby Smith blocked a shot, grabbed the rebound, and took the ball the length of the court for a fast break layup.
But the Lady Govs came back, and a basket by Kaitlyn Hill tied the score at 27-27 with 37 seconds left in the half. A basket by Claire Watkins, assisted by Jenkins, gave the Dores a very slim 29-27 halftime lead.
Less than 15 seconds into the second half, Austin Peay tied the score at 29-29. But then, a couple of baskets from Clarke started a 14-0 Vanderbilt run to put the Dores ahead 43-29.
Vanderbilt's second half defense held the Lady Govs to 11% shooting in a half in which they scored only 9 points including only three field goal. The Dores also scored 15 points in the second half off Austin Peay turnovers.
With a little over a minute to go, a steal and and a fast break basket by Batey gave Vanderbilt a 30-point lead at 66-36. Shortly after, a made free throw by Rayte'a Long resulted in the final score of the night.
With the victory, Vanderbilt improves to 4-3 on the season. Next action comes on Saturday afternoon when the Dores host Tennessee Tech. Game time is 12:30 p.m.
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Photos copyright 2012 by Whitney D. for VandyMania.com