VU WBB: Vanderbilt 83, UNC Asheville 57

In their final game before the Christmas break, Vanderbilt defeated UNC Asheville 83-57 Saturday afternoon in Memorial Gym. Four Dores scored in double figures, led by freshman Kylee Smith with 17 points, followed by Heather Bowe with 16 points, Jasmine Jenkins with 12, and Marqu'es Webb with 10. Jasmine Lister dished seven assists.

It wasn't officially a Christmas party, but the Vanderbilt's Saturday afternoon game against UNC Asheville had the feel. From a black-and-gold clad Santa Claus and flying teddy bears at halftime to the spirit of sharing with 28 assists, the team gave themselves, their coaches and fans a perfect send-off to the Christmas break.

In contrast to the previous game at James Madison, which turned out to be an overtime nail-biter after a sluggish start by the Commodores, Saturday afternoon's game was never in serious doubt. There were no lead changes or ties, and the Vanderbilt lead never fell below 13 points in the second half.

But that didn't mean that there was nothing to interest Vanderbilt fans. Once again, the coaching staff tinkered with the starting lineup. Sophomore G/F Morgan Batey and junior guard Kady Schrann started for the first time this season, while freshman post Marqu'es Webb, freshman G/F Kylee Smith, and sophomore point guard Jasmine Jenkins, all of whom have started games at some point this season, came off the bench.

"We're really young and you're probably going to see multiple starting lineups as the season goes on, win or lose," said Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb after the game. "I think the kids are so young that they're just inconsistent, and we're trying to figure out a group of five that can start our games the best possible way."

As it turned out, the reserve players were very effective when they entered the game. Vanderbilt's bench scoring accounted for 41 of Vanderbilt 83 total points. Smith led the team in scoring with 17 points, while Webb and Jenkins both scored in double figures with 10 and 12 points, respectively.

"Tonight I told [Kylee], I'm not going to start you. I'm going to bring you back off the bench and just come in aggressive. Be ready to shoot the ball is what I'm saying," said Balcomb. "Be ready to attack the rim, shoot the ball, be really aggressive, run the middle of the floor and get layups and that's exactly what she did."

Also of particular interest was the Dores' improvement on the assist/turnover front. After averaging 17.2 assists to 23.2 turnovers in the first six games of the season, the team followed up an 18 assists to 13 turnovers game at JMU with 28 assists and 10 turnovers against UNC Asheville.

With the victory, the Dores extended their winning streak to seven games and improved to 10-2 on the season. After the game, the players scattered across the country to spend the Christmas holidays with their families. Following four days off, they'll return to the practice after Christmas to prepare for the December 30 game at UAB, followed by the SEC opener against Georgia on January 2.


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