VU WBB: Vanderbilt 80, Ole Miss 74

Vanderbilt fended off the persistent Ole Miss Rebels 80-74 Thursday night in Oxford, Mississippi. Christina Foggie led the Dores in scoring with 28 points, followed by Jasmine Lister with 17, and Morgan Batey with 11. Valencia McFarland led Ole Miss with 28 points.

Sandwiched between a thrilling win over in-state rival UT last Sunday and the upcoming Jam the Gym game against #14 LSU this coming Sunday, a road trip to Oxford had "trap game" written all over it.

Whether Vanderbilt was experiencing a letdown after the excitement of Sunday's victory or whether Ole Miss is a better team than their 0-3 start to the SEC season might indicate is hard to say, but whatever the reason, the Dores had to dig deep to pull out their second SEC road win of the season.

The Dores got off to a good start, jumping out to a 7-2 lead and prompting Ole Miss Head Coach Matt Insell to call an early timeout. After that, the Rebels settled down, tied the score, then took the lead at 19-18 midway through the first half.

Soon afterwards, Christina Foggie, Vanderbilt's leading scorer, picked up her second foul and went to the bench for the remainder of the half. In the meantime, Jasmine Lister carried the bulk of the scoring load with 15 of her 17 points coming in the first half.

With 6:20 left in the half, Ole Miss took a 7-point lead at 30-23, but Lister scored on a driving layup to start a Vanderbilt comeback. At the end of the half, Morgan Batey beat the buzzer to pull Vanderbilt within one point at 38-37 going into the locker room.

In the first six minutes of the second half, the Dores kept nipping at the Rebels' heels. They tied the score several times but couldn't take the lead until an old-fashioned 3-point play by Foggie gave Vanderbilt a 2-point lead at 49-47 with 13:32 left in the game.

From then on, the tables were turned, with the Rebels nipping at the Dores' heels. They managed to tie the game once but never regained the lead.

The Rebel's last big chance came with about three minutes left. Ole Miss star Valencia McFarland had just hit a 3-pointer to cut the Vanderbilt lead to 70-67. On the other end of the court, Kylee Smith, who scored nine points in the final five minutes of the game, missed a shot. Jasmine Jenkins grabbed the offensive rebound, was fouled and knocked down both free throws to push the Vanderbilt lead back out to five points.

"We were one rebound away from having the ball down three with a chance to score," said Insell. "At that point they were having trouble guarding Valencia, Valencia was getting to the rim on them; I felt real good if we could have pulled that rebound."

After that, a couple of Vanderbilt turnovers and a couple of missed free throws gave Ole Miss a small glimmer of hope, but the Dores held on to claim the hard-fought victory.

With the victory Vanderbilt improves to 14-3 overall, 4-1 in the SEC. Next the Dores return home to host the #14 LSU Lady Tigers Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. in Memorial Gym. The Sunday game is the team's annual "Jam the Gym" promotion. All tickets, whether purchased in advance or at the ticket booth on game day, cost $1. Before the game, there will be activities for children in the practice gym, and the team will sign autographs after the game.



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