The evening began on a somber note with a moment of silence before the National Anthem to honor the memory of Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna, the two Oklahoma State women's basketball coaches who were killed in a plane crash while on a recruiting trip last week.
In addition to the moment of silence, Vanderbilt's coaches, staff, and players wore ribbons or shoelaces in the Cowgirls' colors to show their support for the Oklahoma State community.
Vanderbilt started off slowly and missed four shots before Stephanie Holzer finally put one in the basket for the Dores. The team always sets a goal to come out so strong that they force the opposing coach to call timeout before the first media timeout. However, tonight the shoe was on the other foot, and with the Dores trailing 6-2, it was Vanderbilt Coach Melanie Balcomb who called the early timeout.
"[The Bearkats] were ready to play and came in playing hard," said Coach Balcomb after the game. " We have to do a better job of not being complacent. We were complacent after the games that we’ve been playing that weren’t competitive. I’m not going to make any excuses, but we weren’t prepared the first five minutes to play at the level that we needed to play."
Vanderbilt took over the lead at the 13:56 mark and midway through the first half a jumper by Kady Schrann gave the Dores an 11-point lead at 23-12.
Stephanie Holzer scored 13 points with five rebounds in 14 minutes of play.
Tiffany Clarke providing a major lift off the bench, scoring 19 points with 10 rebounds. Her performance was one reason why Vanderbilt's bench out-scored Sam Houston State's bench by 40-1.
Clair Watkins was another reason. In 10 minutes of play, she scored 12 points with six rebounds and two blocked shots.
The Dores outscored the Bearkats in the paint 48-18. "That’s what we talked about at halftime, getting the ball inside and going to our strengths," said Coach Balcomb. "All our posts were scoring inside and shooting the ball well, and they didn’t have the height to guard it, so that’s what we needed to do, get them the basketball, and I think we did a good job of doing that."
Clarke shot 6 for 11 from the field and 7 for 10 from the free throw line.
Jordan Coleman only scored two points, but has six rebounds, six assists, two blocked shots, and two steals with only one turnover.
Even though most of the scoring was in the paint, Maggie Morrison knocked down a 3-pointer.
Jasmine Lister scored nine points with six assists and four rebounds.
Freshman walk-on Nadine Ndip scored her first two points for Vanderbilt.
Elan Brown grabbed eight rebounds, four of them on the offensive end of the court.
It's Thanksgiving break at Vanderbilt, and the campus is empty because most students, including the Spirit of Gold and the cheerleaders, have gone home for the holiday. But there nevertheless was a small student section at the game, consisting of some of the football players, who are on campus preparing for the game against Wake Forest on Saturday.
Next action for Vanderbilt is the annual Thanksgiving Vanderbilt returns to action on Friday, November 25, in its annual Thanksgiving Tournament at Memorial Gymnasium. The Commodores open the tourney at 2:00 p.m., hosting Lipscomb, followed by Liberty vs. No. 13/14 Oklahoma.
The teams return on Saturday, November 26, with the consolation game at 2:00 p.m. and the championship game at 4:00 p.m. Admission is free and prizes will be given out at each media timeout of the contests featuring the Commodores.
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Photos copyright 2011 by Whitney D for VandyMania.com