Although the final score showed a one-sided game, that's not how it started. Midway through the first half, Vanderbilt's lead was only three points at 14-11. But then the Dores cranked up the defense and turned steals and defensive rebounds into points to break the game open.
Fans sometimes wonder what good can come out of starting the season with several games against over-matched teams that result in blowouts for the home team.
Lots of playing time for the team's freshmen, including point guard Maggie Morrison, is one of the benefits.
"All three of them play better each game and get more comfortable in what we’re doing and seeing where they can do what they do within a structure that is totally new to them on both ends of the floor," said Head Coach Melanie Balcomb after the game. "I thought Maggie had her best game distributing the ball, being under control and seeing what the defense gave us in transition."
The box score backs up the coach's assessment. After four assists and seven turnovers in the last game, the young point guard finished this game with nine assists and only two turnovers.
For the second game in a row, Vanderbilt had 28 assists for the game. Christina Foggie had two of them.
Jordan Coleman scored four points in the game, but her biggest impact came on the defensive end of the court with three steals, a blocked shot, and eight rebounds.
Tiffany Clarke had a very productive 17 minutes of play, scoring 11 points with six rebounds, a block, a steal and two assists.
Freshman guard Kady Schrann led the team in scoring with 15 points. "Kady did what she does with confidence, with her pullup, getting to the basket, her athleticism . . . you saw some really nice moves," said Coach Balcomb.
Schrann also contributed on the defensive end of the court with three steals and three defensive rebounds.
Stephanie Holzer connected on seven of her eight shot attempts from the field for a total of 14 points. She also led the team in rebounding with 13, including five offensive boards, in 19 minutes of play.
Elan Brown is one of the team's best defenders, but she also contributed on the offensive end of the court with nine points and three assists.
Jasmine Lister finished with ten points and seven assists with only one turnover.
Clair Watkins scored 10 points for the second game in a row, along with three boards and three blocked shots in only 12 minutes of playing time.
Besides being a capable distributor of the ball, Morrison can also knock shots from the outside. "I know when I pass to Maggie, and she’s on the 3 point line, she’s going to make it, so I’m already on my way back," said Schrann after the game.
The team started a new post-game ritual at the start of this season. Instead of jogging directly back to the locker room after the traditional handshake line, they join the band and cheerleaders in singing the Alma Mater. According to a usually reliable source, they're still working on mastering the lyrics but expect to improve on that dimension of their game as the season progresses.
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Photos copyright 2011 by Whitney D for VandyMania.com