VU falls in SEC opener to Ole Miss 72-67

It was the same song, second verse for a squad struggling on the road and failing to protect large leads. After building a 17-point buffer in the final of Thursday's Hilton Garden Classic, Vandy lost 74-68 to West Virginia. The numbers change slightly in today's SEC opener as Vandy loses 72-67 to Ole Miss after an 18-point lead in the first 20 minutes disappeared.

The Commodores (9-5, 0-1 SEC) are 2-5 in road games. Vanderbilt opened SEC play last season with an 86-72 win over Ole Miss, and is now 6-12 all-time in Oxford, Miss. The Rebels had beaten Vanderbilt three times at Ole Miss before the ‘Dores swept Ole Miss last season.

Senior co-captains Jence Rhoads and Hannah Tuomi scored 16 points each and Jasmine Lister, with a trio of 3-pointers, finished with 15. Jence also had 8 assists. The ‘Dores, who hit only 11 of 31 shots in the second half for 35.5%, could not stop the Rebels' Kayla Melson who sank 30 points and Valencia McFarland with 15.

Ole Miss grabbed its first lead with 5:02 remaining and Vandy tied it at 58-all with 4:40 left. At the 2:27 mark, the Rebels were up by 7 points; Vandy trimmed the lead to 2 points with 53 seconds left on a layup by Hannah Tuomi at 65-63, but free throws by Melson and McFarland kept the Rebels in front. A layup by Jasmine Lister and jumper by Elan Brown put Vandy within 3 two times in the final 30 seconds, but three point attempts missed the mark.

Because blizzard conditions in the East canceled a New Jersey tournament, the Rebels were playing for the first time in 11 days and Vandy played its third away game in five days. Ole Miss, which finished 17-15 last season, is 7-2 at home with losses to Arizona and Miami.

Vanderbilt will attempt to get back on the winning track with two home games this week. Up next is Mississippi State at 7 p.m. on January 6 and Auburn at 2 p.m. on January 9. Top Stories