Vanderbilt women down Georgia, 69-59

ATHENS-- Jasmine Lister may have been the smallest player on the court but the true freshman showed the biggest heart as she scored 22 points, including 19 in the second half, to lead Vanderbilt past No. 24 Georgia, 69-59.

Lister drained 3-of-5 threes in the second half to help the Commodores withstand of furious Georgia rally. The Commodore women were enjoying a 16-point lead with 8:59 remaining in the game. However, Georgia went on a 17-2 run and cut the VU lead to just 60-59 with 2:56 to play. Unlike previous road game meltdowns, the Vanderbilt women would not flinch and stood their ground against the Lady Bulldogs.

Stephanie Holzer and Lister each scored layups to put their team back up by five with 1:31 to play. Lister added another layup with just under a minute to go which put the visitors up seven. Georgia was forced to foul and Lister and Holzer combined to sink 3-of-4 free throws in the final minute to seal the Commodores' 17th victory of the season.

A pleased Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb beamed as she commented on the play of her team and particularly Holzer and Lister.

"I'm so proud of how much these girls have learned and how much they've grown in the past couple of weeks," said Balcomb. "We have an identity now, and we're stronger as a team. Jasmine Lister is fearless and she does some crazy stuff, but I calmed her down and she just responded really well to our coaching and us making changes. The freshmen have really grown up nicely, and they have contributed greatly to the success of the team."

Georgia head coach Andy Landers appeared frustrated over his team's inability to take control of the game after their great second half run.

"If we could've taken the lead it would have had a dramatic effect, but we didn't," said Landers. "We had the opportunity but didn't hit some key shots, and they came right back and made plays, which you have to give them credit for."

Vanderbilt also got a stellar effort from senior Hannah Tuomi who scored 19 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to record a double-double. Holzer finished with 11 points. Porsha Phillips led Georgia with 12 points.

The Commodores out-rebounded the Lady Bulldogs, 42-33, and made 49 percent of their shots from the field while limiting Georgia to just 35 percent accuracy.

Vanderbilt improves 17-7 (8-3 SEC) and moves into a tie with Georgia for second place in the SEC. The Commodores will host rival Tennessee on Sunday at Memorial Gym. Georgia falls to 18-6 (8-3 SEC) and will visit Ole Miss on Sunday.

Despite the big win, Vanderbilt still trails in its all-time series with Georgia 24-30 overall and 7-15 in Athens. However, Vanderbilt's Balcomb is now 12-5 against the Lady Bulldogs since she has been at Vandy.

(AP/Richard Hamm)

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