The Crusaders took an early 3-0
lead on a three-pointer by Liz O'Connor and for a few minutes were able
to stay close. However, with Holy Cross leading 5-4 four minutes into
the game, Ashley McElhiney sank a jumper as the shot clock was about to
expire to give Vanderbilt a 6-5 lead, and baskets from Jenni
Benningfield and Chantelle Anderson increased the lead to 10-5 at the first media
By then the handwriting was beginning to appear on the wall. After the
timeout, Vanderbilt went on a 27-7 run over the next ten minutes with
the Commodores scoring from all over the court. Benningfield scored on a
fast break initiated by Anderson's defensive rebound, Anderson couldn't
be stopped in the paint, and Hillary Hager, Abi Ramsey, Tia Battle, and
McElhiney all sank three-pointers during the run. By the end of the
half, the Commodores held a 25-point lead at 47-22.
The second half continued in the
same vein as the first half. The first five minutes of the half featured
six straight points from Anderson, sandwiched between three-pointers by
Ramsey off the fast break and Hager in the halfcourt offense.
By then, the Vanderbilt lead had passed 30 points, and it never fell
below 30 after that. A pair of made free throws by Hager with 1:42 left
in the game gave the Commodores their biggest lead of the night at
86-50, and Vanderbilt Coach Melanie Balcomb cleared the bench. A couple of
Holy Cross baskets ended the scoring for the night at 86-53.
Saturday was Fan Appreciation Day
in Memorial Gym with the first two thousand fans received a life-size
Chantelle Anderson growth chart poster, so it was only fitting that
Anderson would lead Vanderbilt in scoring with 20 points. Hillary Hager
followed with 15, Ashley McElhiney had 12, Jenni Benningfield and Abi
Ramsey had 11 each, and Tia Battle had 10. Hager was leading rebounder by 6,
followed by Benningfield, Anderson, and Battle with five each.
McElhiney dished out ten assists for her fourth double double of the season,
followed by Hager with six. Anderson blocked five shots.
Holy Cross was led in scoring by
Katie O'Keefe with 10 points. No other Crusader scored in double figures.
O'Keefe and Lisa Andrews were leading rebounders for Holy Cross with
For the game, Vanderbilt shot 58% from the field (46% from 3-point
range) and 69% from the free throw line, compared to 34% from the field
(39% from 3-point range) and 87% from the line for the Crusaders.
Vanderbilt had only 13 turnovers compared to 24 for Holy Cross. Twelve of the
Crusader turnovers were steals by Vanderbilt, with five Commodores
getting at least two teals. Despite their height advantage, Vanderbilt was
out-rebounded by the Crusaders 37-25. Seventeen of the Holy Cross
rebounds were offensive, while the Commodores pulled down only seven
With the win, Vanderbilt improves
to 9-3 on the season, while Holy Cross falls to 6-5, with four of those
losses coming against ranked teams. Next Vanderbilt travels to
Pittsburg to play Duquesne, the fifth game in a grueling ten-day stretch for
the Commodores to complete the non-conference schedule. SEC play begins
next weekend with a Sunday afternoon matchup against the Mississippi
State Bulldogs in Starkville.
* * * * *
Photos of Chantelle Anderson, Ashley McElhiney, Hilary Hager, Jenni
Benningfield, and Abi Ramsey by Micah Miller for VandyMania.