Vanderbilt improved to 9-0 on the season Sunday afternoon by defeating the High Point University Panthers 70-54 in Memorial Gym. Christina Foggie led the Dores with 26 points, followed by Tiffany Clarke with 14, and Jasmine Lister with 10. Cheyenne Parker scored 19 for the Panthers.
Coming into Memorial Gym, the High Point Panthers were looking for their second consecutive victory over a team from one of the "power conferences" following the 82-75 victory over Pittsburg.
Christina Foggie scored the first two points of the game on her way to a career-high 26 points. Thirteen of those points came in the first half.
After High Point tied the score, Foggie hit a 3-pointer to give Vanderbilt the lead for good.
A basket by Jasmine Lister increased the Vanderbilt lead to 9-4 before the first media timeout.
This basket by Stephanie Holzer gave Vanderbilt a 12-point lead. Throughout the first half, Vanderbilt's lead steadily increased. Midway through the first half, the Dores led by 15 points.
Late in the first half, a jumper by Elan Brown gave the Dores a 19-point lead, their largest of the game a few minutes before halftime. A pair of free throws by Erin Reynolds cut that lead by two going into the locker room.
Seventeen points sounds like a comfortable half-time lead, but in less than three minutes after the second half began, four Vanderbilt turnovers allowed High Point cut the lead to single digits. Coach Melanie Balcomb had seen enough and called timeout. However, after the timeout, Vanderbilt failed to score, and the Panthers further cut the lead to seven points at 34-27.
But the Dores were able to regain their composure, get some defensive stops, and hit some key baskets. Ten points in the second half from Tiffany Clarke helped save the day.
With Vanderbilt leading by 12, Foggie put the principle "offense from our defense" into action, turning two steals on consecutive Panther possessions into five points for the Dores.
Three of those points came on an old-fashioned three-point play.
"Tonight we had times where we just looked tired and that’s what I liked about Jaz and Foggie -- I know they’re tired, too, but they never lost focus or lost energy during that stretch," said Coach Balcomb after the game. "Both of them, I thought, especially Jaz, I thought defense was terrific. I think it was the best defensive game that the two of them have played."
Late in the game, Kady Schrann knocked down a couple of free throws.
In addition to her 14 points, Clarke was also the team's leading rebounder with nine boards. With six minutes left in the game, this basket gave Vanderbilt a 19-point lead, and Vanderbilt fans were able to breathe a little easier.
There were lots of hugs at the end of the post-game handshake as former Vanderbilt star Merideth Marsh, who is now an assistant coach at High Point, greeted her old coaches and a few former teammates.
Despite some ragged spots, including 15 turnovers in the first half, Vanderbilt improved to 9-0 on the season with the 70-54 victory.
Next, the Dores go on the road for a game at UT-Martin on Wednesday night, their last game before the mid-December break for final exams. The next home game will be December 22, when Vanderbilt hosts Florida State.
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Photos copyright 2011 by Whitney D. for VandyMania.com