VU women stifle Mississippi State

Vanderbilt center Stephanie Holzer tallied her third double-double of the season as the Commodores beat Mississippi State, 65-44. The win ended a two-game losing streak in which Vanderbilt blew big leads in the second half. Jence Rhoads and Jasmine Lister added 12 and 11 points respectively in helping the Commodores even their SEC record at 1-1.

With the Bulldogs leading 4-3 less than three minutes into the game, Vanderbilt went on a 16-0 run that lasted five minutes. Later, a Holzer layup gave Vandy a 26-9 lead with 4:26 before the break. The Commodores led by as much as 17 before heading to the locker room on top, 31-16.

Unlike Vanderbilt's previous two games, in the second half the MSU women could do little to cut into the Commodore lead. Katia May's jump shot with 16:08 to go in the game narrowed the Vanderbilt lead to 14 at 37-23. However, Vanderbilt answered with a 3-pointer by Angela Puleo who made two during the game and the Bulldogs would never again pull within 17 of the home team.

Rhoads made a pair of free throws with 1:48 remaining to give the Commodores a 61-36 lead. The 25-point margin would be Vandy's biggest lead of the game.

After playing sparingly in the two recent losses because of an ailing back, Holzer was able to play 21 minutes. Finishing with 14 points and 13 rebounds, it was the third time Holzer has led the team in points and the second time she has led the team in points and rebounds.

"Steph is feeling a lot better and practicing more and you could see her confidence carry into the game," said head coach Melanie Balcomb. "I knew she was going to do well. I went with her quickly for that reason."

"It's getting there," said Holzer of her back. "It is something I always have to work with and stretch a lot but nothing that's going to stop me from playing."

Judith Tabala led Mississippi State with 11. The Bulldogs made just 27.6 percent (16-of-58) of their shots from the field.

Vanderbilt improved to 10-5 (1-1 SEC). The Commodores host Auburn on Sunday at 2 p.m. CT. Mississippi State falls to 8-5 (0-1 SEC). The Bulldogs will host Arkansas on Sunday. Vanderbilt now leads its all-time series with MSU, 30-14.

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