Freshman post Carla Thomas jumps center against Florida's Vanessa Hayden, usually considered one of the top centers in the country.
Florida's Tashia Morehead (#45) is a junior college transfer playing her first year at Florida. Last year she was the MVP of the National Junior College championship tournament and has had a strong positive impact on the women's basketball program in Gainesville. Here, she's guarding senior Hillary Hager just before Jenni Benningfield's basket put Vanderbilt ahead 14-12.
Senior post Jenni Benningfield sinks a jumper over Hayden and Bernice Mosby to extend the Vanderbilt lead to 17-14.
Florida drags chairs out onto the court for their huddles during time outs. In the midst of the huddle, you can see Florida Head Coach Carolyn Peck, a member of Vanderbilt's 1000-point club, a milestone she achieved as a Commodore back in the '80s.
Vanderbilt ball! Every once in a while an official makes a call that meets the approval of even Vandy Lance. (Just kiddin', Lance, we love you!)
During halftime Mr. Commodore did the skit that won the national mascot championship.
Former Vanderbilt assistant coach Julie Plank (1996-99), who's now an assistant with the WNBA's Indiana Fever, was scouting at the game along with former Purdue coach Lin Dunn, who is also with the Fever. During halftime, Julie was chatting with former Commodore Candice Storey, who's now an academic advisor for the team.
Former Commodore Jillian Danker did color commentary with Charlie Mattos on the radio broadcast.
Carla Thomas scores on the fast break to give the Commodores their first lead of the second half at 61-60 with 9:19 left. What? You say you can't actually see Carla, but can only see the official's back? Welcome to the wonderful world of baseline photograhy!
Carla Thomas and a bunch of orange jerseys wait for the rebound that never comes, since the shot was made.
Late in the game, the crowd was quiet, quiet enough to hear the fat lady tuning up in the tunnel. But the Commodores kept fighting, including Jenni Benningfield who pulled down two offensive boards followed by putbacks, including this one, in the final minute of the game.
Carla scored 17 points for the game, but with 7 seconds left in the game, this shot didn't fall for her.
With a second left in the game, Abi Ramsey fouled Danielle Santos. Santos then threw an elbow right in front of the officials and was whistled for a flagrant foul. Abi went to the line all alone, and after shooting 80% from the line for the season so far, missed both of the foul shots. On the other end, Santos made hers to make the final margin of victory 92-83 for the Gators.
After the game, the teams did the traditional lineup for hand-shaking and high-fiving.
Win or lose, the cheerleaders, students, and pep band always sing the alma mater after the game, and Sunday was no different.
Jenni Benningfield and Carla Thomas, who led the Commodores with 20 points and 17 points respectively, listen to a question at the post-game press conference. Usually the high scorers are the players the press requests, but after a loss, scoring a lot of points is never enough to soothe the frustration of losing.
Photographs by Whitney D. for VandyMania.com.