Vanderbilt opened SEC play tonight on the road at Texas A&M and for most of the way, it looked like the Dores could come away with a big road victory but that wasn't the case as the Aggies defeated Vandy 77-72.
A quick and decisive blow from the Aggies at the start of 4th quarter doomed the Commodores as they couldn't find an answer on defense and couldn't hang onto the ball well enough.
Out of bounds pressure from Texas A&M on the Vanderbilt guards was too much to handle for the Dores. Freshman guards Kaleigh Clemons-Green and Cierra Walker played an overall tough game but in the 4th quarter, their youth showed up as they could not handle the athleticism and quickness of the Aggie guards. Vanderbilt in general, did a great job of being efficient on offense and rebounding missed Aggie shots. Those variables put the Dores in the lead for most of the game but A&M turned up the intensity in the 4th quarter and Vanderbilt could not match it.
The SEC's leading scorer, Danni Williams was held in check most of the night with 13 points by Vanderbilt but forwards Anriel Howard and Jasmine Lumpkin led the way for the Aggies with 17 points a piece and were the key cogs towards pushing their team to a victory. Four Aggies scored in double figures on the night but the play from Howard and Lumpkin in the 4th quarter, were the main reasons to helping the Aggies win.
Texas A&M outscored Vanderbilt 25-12 in the 4th quarter. The whole game, Vanderbilt controlled the pace of everything but all of that went out the window in the home stretch. The Commodores led by as many as 13 points in the 2nd half but could not hold on.
Vanderbilt was led in scoring by both Kayla Overbeck and Clemons-Green with 13 points a piece. It was a career high for Clemons-Green who really played a strong game and showed poise beyond her years. The one moment where her youthfulness came into the light was in the 4th quarter when she could not deal with the Aggies quickness. Turnovers once again plagued the Dores as that has been an issue for Vanderbilt all season long.
The game was never out of touch for Vanderbilt as the maintained a close deficit and eventually cut the lead down to one with a little more than 1:30 seconds remaining in the game. That's as close it would get as Texas A&M made free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
Vanderbilt now falls to 10-4 overall on the year and 0-1 in Southeastern Conference play.
The Commodores will be back on the court for their SEC home opener this Thursday against cross state rival Tennessee. The game will air on the SEC Network tipping off at 8 pm Central.