VU defense tough enough to stop LSU 55-50

Hang tough defense overcame a turnover-ridden offense Thursday as Vanderbilt (15-7, 6-3) stretched a thin buffer to defeat LSU 55-50 in a must-win SEC battle. Stephanie Holzer, with 23 points, made 41 percent of the team's total offense, and got help from fellow freshman Jasmine Lister with 11 and senior Jence Rhoads with 9 points and 7 rebounds.

The Lady Tigers (15-9, 5-5), true to their SEC-leading average of allowing 53.4 points per game, gave Vanderbilt enough edge to secure the win for a perfect 12-0 record at home. The last time Vandy began 12-0 at home was in 2001-02.

Vandy's 55 points were a season-low, but the ‘Dores' 53.3% field goal average was the highest posted by any LSU opponent this season.

Vandy held LSU, 4-5 on the road, to its' third-lowest point total in three games after an LSU loss to Arkansas 45-53 a week ago and a 47-41 win over Georgia on Sunday.

With 22 turnovers and only two offensive rebounds to LSU's 11, Vandy allowed LSU's LaSondra Barrett to sink 14 second half points while Katherine Graham led LSU with 17 points. The ‘Dores 7-point lead at the half would be crucial, keeping the Lady Tigers at arm's distance with a five-to- seven point lead throughout much of the second half. LSU closed to within 1 point at 40-39 with 10:15 remaining, but no closer.

The Dores opened the game with a reverse layup by Jasmine Lister for a 7-0 run. At the 10:53 mark, LSU took its first lead 11-9, and Stephanie Holzer tied it up 11-all, and again at 17-all with 6:43 left in the half. Holzer cushioned the lead with a jumper at the half's buzzer following the team's time management play for a 28-21 lead.

Head Coach Melanie Balcomb said the redshirt freshman played smart, drawing just one foul. "And I think that's what she was really focused on tonight: making a change, playing smarter. Stephanie has a lot of confidence in her face-up game as well as her low post game and I thought we did a really good job of being patient and getting her the basketball down the stretch."

Tiffany Clarke played tough minutes, sinking five points and grabbing five rebounds. Three of those points were scored as she hit the floor following a rough and tumble layup; she sank the free throw as well.

Vanderbilt moves into fourth place in SEC standings. The squad takes on Florida in Gainesville during a CSS-televised game at noon CST on Sunday. Top Stories