WWB Recap: Florida 79, Vanderbilt 67

GAINESVILLE, Fla.(VUAD) - The Vanderbilt women changed their lineup Thursday night, but couldn't change their luck. Facing a ranked opponent for the third consecutive game, the Commodores fell to No. 22 Florida, 79-67. It was the sixth consecutive loss for Vanderbilt (15-11, 4-9), which remained winless in February.

Miaya Seawright, one of two walk-ons on the Vanderbilt roster, was in the starting lineup for the first time this season. Seawright finished with two points, two rebounds and two assists in 10 minutes of playing time while seeing action in her seventh game of the season. 

"Florida is a very fast team -- they go faster than anybody in the conference," said head coach Melanie Balcomb. "And that's why we put Miaya in the lineup. We knew Florida would start the game fast, and we wanted to try to limit that. Obviously, we didn't do that successfully."

Florida is the SEC's top-scoring team, and the Gators showed their explosiveness in the victory.

All five starters for the Gators (20-6, 8-5) finished in double figures, led by Eleanna Christinaki with 22 points. Ronni Williams added a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

For the Commodores, Marques Webb had 17 points, finishing 7-of-9 from the floor, and pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.

"She was phenomenal," said Balcomb. "She is bringing so much to the table for us every night."

Rachel Bell had 16 points for the Commodores, who trailed by two points at the half and stayed within striking distance throughout the second half but could never take the lead. Vanderbilt briefly tied the game at 47-47 on a 3-pointer by Minta Spears early in the third quarter, but Florida outscored the Commodores 12-6 the remainder of the period for a 59-53 lead.

Vanderbilt got as close as four points on two occasions in the final 10 minutes, the second time coming on a basket by Morgan Batey that trimmed the deficit to 68-64. But Florida closed the game on a 12-3 run to hold off the Commodores.

Haley Lorenzen finished with 12 for Florida, and Carlie Needles and Simone Westbrook added 10 each. 

Florida shot 50 percent from the floor (25-of-50) and became only the second team this season to shot 50 percent or better against the Commodores. 

Florida was 22-of-34 at the foul line; Vanderbilt was 8-of-15.

Bell went 6-of-10 from the floor for the Commodores, who continued a trend by once again getting off to a slow start.

Vanderbilt fell behind 15-4 before the midway mark of the first quarter after the Gators connected on a pair of early 3-pointers. The Commodores, however, answered with a 17-4 run and a took a 21-19 lead on a basket by Batey with 9:08 left in the second quarter. Florida eventually carried a 42-40 lead into the half. 

Both teams shot the ball effectively in the first half. The Commodores made 16-of-25 attempts -- 64 percent -- including going 4-of-8 from 3-point range.

Bell scored 13 first-half points, going 5-of-7 from the floor, including 3-of-3 from long range, and Webb was 4-of-4 from the floor.

The Gators took only eight shots from the floor in the second quarter, but made seven of them (87.5 percent), and shot 56 percent for the half overall. 

Vanderbilt hosts No. 12 Texas A&M on Sunday. Top Stories