Ramsey's heroics came at the end of a game that was sometimes ugly,
often physical, but always intensely competitive. Throughout the entire
game, neither team ever led by more than 7 points, and for most of the
game, the difference was less than 5 points.
The first ten minutes of the game weren't pretty. During that span
Georgia's defense forced ten Vanderbilt turnovers. Fortunately for the
Commodores, Vandy's defense was also causing problems for the Lady Dawgs,
who turned it over seven times themselves. The net result was a slim
13-11 Georgia lead halfway through the first half.
Then for a while, it looked as if
Georgia might pull away. An old-fashioned 3-point play by Kara Braxton
gave the Lady Dawgs 5-point lead at 16-11. Shortly afterwards, a basket by
Christi Thomas with 6:10 left in the half gave Georgia their biggest
lead of the night at 22-15, and Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb
called a timeout.
Whatever she said in that timeout apparently had the desired effect,
because Vanderbilt immediately went on a 7-0 run, with five of their
points coming from the free throw line, to tie the game at 22-22 with 3:58
left in the half.
And for the remaining minutes in the half, the teams basically traded
baskets and headed to the locker room with the score 28-26 in favor of
A basket by Kara Braxton to start the
second half gave Georgia an early 4-point lead, but a couple of baskets by
Chantelle Anderson soon tied the once again. And that's how it went for
the rest of the game. In the second half, neither team led by more than
four points, and for most of the time, the score was either tied or
within 1 point.
As the second half began to wind down, neither team had taken control
of the game. With 3:48 left, the game was tied at 51-51. Then each team
scored a layup and a 3-pointer to once again reach a deadlock at 56-56
with 1:20 remaining.
Then after Georgia missed a couple of shots at the basket, Jenni
Benningfield grabbed the defensive rebound, but missed a 3-pointer on the
other end. Chantelle Anderson, however, pulled down the offensive rebound,
and, with the score still tied, Vanderbilt called timeout with 37
When play resumed, the Commodores worked the ball around, and Anderson
got the ball into Benningfield in the low post. But Braxton wrested the
ball away, and the Lady Dawgs headed down the court.
At the opposite end, as Alexis
Kendrick was trying to split two defenders, Ramsey managed to get a hand on
the ball and deflect it. Benningfield grabbed the loose ball, and
Ramsey took off down the court, catching Benningfield's pass on the run.
Two Georgia defenders took off in pursuit, but Ramsey got to the
basket first, and Mary Beth Lycett fouled her from behind. The ball rolled
around the rim, then fell out. But the foul gave Ramsey two free throws
with 0.7 seconds remaining.
With few alternatives available,
Georgia Head Coach Andy Landers called a 30-second timeout to give Ramsey
some time to think about it, then immediately called another one. When
she finally got to shoot, Ramsey sank the first free throw, then
Landers called a full timeout.
Once again, when play resumed, Ramsey stepped to the line. And once
again, she sank the second free throw, giving Vanderbilt a 58-56 lead.
With 0.7 remaining, Lycett inbounded the ball under the Commodore basket.
Benningfield was able to get a hand on the ball, which meant that time
expired before Georgia could attempt a possible game-winning shot,
sealing the 58-56 Vanderbilt victory.
Vanderbilt was led in scoring by
Jenni Benningfield with 17 points, followed by Chantelle Anderson with
16, and Ashley McElhiney with 10. Benningfield was also leading rebounder
with 15, for her ninth double-double of the season. Ashley McElhiney
dished out five assists, and Abi Ramsey had five steals.
Georgia was led in scoring by Alexis Kendrick with 17 points, followed
by Christi Thomas and Kara Braxton with 11 points each. Braxton was
leading rebounder with 11. Mary Beth Lycett and Alexis Kendrick each had 3
assists, and Braxton had four steals.
For the game, the Commodores shot 42.3% from the field (14.3% from
3-point range) while the Lady Dawgs shot 38.6% (20% from 3-point range).
Vanderbilt was 12 of 16 (75%) from the free throw line, while Georgia was
10 of 14 (71.4%). Georgia out-rebounded Vanderbilt 33-32, and also had
a slight edge in turnovers with 22 compared to Vandy's 24.
With the win, Vanderbilt improves to 17-7 overall (7-4 SEC), while
Georgia falls to 17-6 overall (8-2 SEC). Next, Vanderbilt has a break with
no game scheduled for Thursday night. The team will have a couple of
days off before resuming practice on Wednesday in preparation for a game
at Florida next Sunday afternoon. The next home game will be on March 2
* * * * *
Photos of #12 Tia Battle on the fast break, #42 Jenni Benningfield
in the low post, #20 Abi Ramsey on the fast break, at the line, and
sinking the game-winner by Micah Miller for VandyMania.