Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb juggled her starting lineup. Sophomore Marqu'es Webb and junior Morgan Batey, who started the first game of the season, were joined by three freshmen, Paris Kea at the point, Christa Reed at shooting guard, and Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau at forward.
The revamped lineup got off to a hot start on a cold night, jumping out to a ten-point lead at 12-2 before the first media timeout. Midway through the first half, Vanderbilt's lead grew to 15 points on a 3-pointer by Kristen Gaffney. With 6:27 left in the half, Batey's fastbreak layup gave the Dores a 16-point lead at 27-11.
But then the tide turned. Maybe it was a lack of stamina, maybe it was Caron-Goudreau picking up her second foul and heading to the bench, maybe coaching adjustments or simply the tenaciousness of the Phoenix. But whatever the reason, Green Bay began to chip away, and by the end of the half, Vanderbilt's once-healthy lead was down to a mere three points at 33-30.
The Phoenix continued the run in the second half. Within the first few minutes, they took their first lead of the game and led by four points at 39-35 before the first media timeout. But then it was time for Vanderbilt to turn the tables. A layup by Webb with 14:29 left put the Dores back on top, and eventually the lead grew back up to nine points at 52-43 on a 3-pointer by Rebekah Dahlman with 7:56 left.
But if any Vanderbilt fans thought the game was safely in hand, they were sadly mistaken. Over a span of three minutes, the Phoenix went on a 9-0 run to tie the game. Vanderbilt subsequently eked out a 4-point lead on free throws by Webb and Reed, but a free throw and a 3-pointer by Green Bay's Megan Lukan tied the game again. Caron-Goudreau put the Dores back on top with a jumper from the high post with 15 seconds left, but Vanderbilt couldn't get the stop on the defensive end. The 58-58 tie sent the game to overtime.
Vanderbilt took the lead on a jumper by Reed, but a pair of free throws by Lukan tied the score again. Then Caron-Goudreau fought through three defenders to put Vanderbilt back on top. As it turned out, that was a lead the Dores wouldn't relinquish. Down the stretch, there were coaching moves, offensive-defensive substitutions, a Green Bay 3-pointer to keep the Phoenix hopes alive, and some made free throws and some misses. But through it all, the Dores held on for the 68-64 victory.
Several stats jump out of the box score. On the bright side, Vanderbilt shot 57.8% from the field, including 45.5% from 3-point range, and 73.3% from the free throw line while holding Green Bay to 33.3% shooting from the field. Also, the Dores out-rebounded the Phoenix 40-27. Five players scored in double figures for Vanderbilt, including double-doubles from Webb with 13 points and 11 rebounds and Caron-Goudreau with 10 points and 10 rebounds. On the other side of the coin, Vanderbilt turned the ball over 32 times.
Next, Vanderbilt travels to Madison, Wisconsin, for the first road trip of the season to play the Wisconsin Badgers Thursday night at 7 p.m. The next home game will be Monday, November 24, at 11:30 a.m. The unusual time for a weekday game is due to a special promotion for school students in the Nashville area. The team then travels to Estero, Florida, for a 3-game tournament over Thanksgiving weekend.
Photos copyright 2014 by Whitney D. for VandyMania.com