Statistically, the first half looked like a defensive struggle. Midway through the half, the score was tied at 17-17, a score that projected a final score of 58-58. But as it turned out, the second half was all about offense, with Vanderbilt scoring 58, their highest point total for a half this season, and the Bucs scoring 44. If both halves had been played at that rate, the final score would have looked like an NBA score at 116 to 88, a far cry from the first half projection.
The offense offered some real positives for Vanderbilt, including 21 assists to only 13 turnovers for the team, a career high of 19 points for Heather Bowe including 8-for-9 shooting from the field, and 26 points from Jasmine Lister who scored in just about every possible way except for a dunk.
But after the game, Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb was thinking about the team's defense. "We gave up eight 3's," she said. "We gave up 3s to start the game and continued to give up 3s until the game was over.
"So the 3s and the rebounding, that's something we're really going to have to work on, being able to make adjustments in the game, and knowing who their shooters are, knowing what they're running," she continued. "I didn't feel like we made those adjustments, so that was the tough part. We just out-scored them in the second half but still never got our defense to where it should have been."
The upcoming break for final exams might provide the opportunity to address some of those issues. The last day of classes for the fall semester is Thursday, followed by final exams through December 14. The team won't have another game until after finals are over.
"We'll give them a couple of days off and let them study and then we'll really take this time to add some things, do some teaching, some skill work, as well as try to keep them in condition and keep them in shape and competing against each other," Balcbom said. "We'll keep it mixed up and we have a great group of guy practice players that they play against, so between that and their studies, they'll be very busy and those 12 days will go fast."
For the hometown fans, the break will be even longer. The first game after the break wllll be on the road at the University of Hartford on December 15, followed by another road game at James Madison University in Virginia on December 18. The Dores will return to their home court on December 21 when they host UNC-Asheville, which will feature the annual Teddy Bear Toss. The long break should give fans plenty of time to buy a new teddy bear to bring to the game. After the game, the teddy bears will be donated to charity.