VU WBB: Vanderbilt 81, Wisconsin 69

Vanderbilt held off a second half Wisconsin rally to win the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament Saturday night. Christina Foggie led the team with 23 points and was named tournament MVP. Jasmine Lister with 14 points and Kylee Smith with 16 points were named to the All-Tournament Team.

When all was said and done, Vanderbilt once again won their own Thanksgiving Tournament. Fans watching the first half might have thought there wasn't any doubt that they would. After all, midway through the half, the Dores were leading by double digits, and with a couple of minutes left in the half Vanderbilt was leading by 16.

But with just seconds remaining in the half, a 3-pointer by Dakota Whyte cut the Vanderbilt back lead to 11 points at 41-30. That still might have seemed like a comfortable lead to fans with short memories, but for the coaching staff, it brought back bad memories of the Marquette game. In that game, a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the half cut the Vanderbilt lead to 11 points, and in the second half Marquette went on to win the game.

"We were kind of concerned about talking to the team and bringing that up," said Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb after the game, "and then when we got in the locker room, they said, 'We're already talked about it.' I thought that said a lot about their mentality."

But even though the team tried to prepare against a similar second half onslaught in this game, the same thing happened. In the second half, the Badgers came out on the attack and tied the game at 47-47 with 13:33 left in the half.

For the next five minutes, the teams battled tooth and nail. Wisconsin wasn't able to take the lead, but neither was Vanderbilt able to gain any separation. Each time the Dores took the lead, the Badgers would counter and tie the game once again.

Then finally, a 3-pointer by Jasmine Lister put the Dores on top by three at 62-59, and Kylee Smith knocked down a couple of jumpers to put Vanderbilt up by seven points with five minutes left.

"She said, 'I was open all game but I wanted to get a better shot for the team,'" said Balcomb. "I loved her unselfishness, but she knew there was a time down the stretch that she had to make that shot for the team, and she took it."

It turned out to be an 11-0 run by the Dores, capped by fastbreak layup by Lister, putting Vanderbilt on top 70-59 with 4:22 left in the game. A Wisconsin basket briefly cu the lead to single digits but another bucket by Smith restored the lead to 11 points, and the Badgers never came closer than that.

Balcomb credited her two senior guards, Jasmine Lister and Christina Foggie for ending the game differently than the Marquette game.

"You saw two seniors just be relentless, and say, okay we're going to make the plays, take the shots and do the things that we need to do, and a team that was willing to let that happen as well," she said. "So they executed the game plan under duress, very very well and had a lot of composure down the stretch and stopped the momentum that they had had -- and that's very hard to do, what we did."

Vanderbilt's two seniors were both honored for their tournament performance. Foggie was named Tournament MVP, and Lister was named to the All-Tournament team along with Smith and Wisconsin's Taylor Wurtz.

With the victory, Vanderbilt improves to 6-2 on the season. Next action for the Dores is on Tuesday December 3, when the host East Tennessee State at 7 p.m.

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