All five Vanderbilt starters scored in double figures as the Vanderbilt Commodores defeated the Western Kentucky Lady Hilltoppers 102-83 Wednesday night at Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, while breaking the all-time school record for field-goal percentage in a game.
The Commodores, who led the nation last year in field goal percentage with 54.5%, hit 71.4% of their shots from the field, eclipsing the previous record of 70.2% which was set against Portland State and equalled at Kentucky last year.
After a 3-pointer by Jillian Danker and a layup by Chantelle Anderson gave Vandy an early 5-0 lead, a series of Vanderbilt turnovers allowed Western to take a 10-5 lead with 16:27 left in the half. The Commodores regrouped and eventually reclaimed the lead on Jillian Danker's third 3-pointer of the game with 13:07 remaining in the half.
From there, Vanderbilt slowly built the lead, claiming their first double digit lead of the night at 30-20 with 6:21 left on a layup by Chantelle Anderson and reaching their biggest lead of the half at 44-29 with 1:58 remaining. Five points by Natalie Powers cut the lead to 10 at 46-46 going into the locker room.
The second half was an offense-lovers delight. The Lady Toppers never cut the Commodores' lead back to single digits, but they never faded away, either. Under ordinary circumstances, Western's 50% from the field in the second half would have had an impact, but Vandy more than matched them, connecting on 17 of 22 shots from the field, for a blistering 77.3% field goal percentage.
The Commodores' lead reached 20 points at 76-56 with 9:10 left in the game and stayed between 19 and 28 points for the rest of the game. Eight Commodores played at least 10 minutes, and the only starter to play more than 30 minutes was point guard Ashley McElhiney, who played 33. In the final minutes, Coach Jim Foster pulled all his starters, and at the end of the game, Vanderbilt didn't have anybody over 5'11 on the court.
Vanderbilt was led in scoring by pre-season All-American Chantelle Anderson with 24 points, followed by All-American candidate Zuzi Klimesova with 20 points. Ashley McElhiney and Jillian Danker each contributed 15, all of Danker's poitns coming from behind the arc on 5 of 7 shooting. Jenni Benningfield added 11 points and was leading rebounder with 7. Ashley McElhiney had 12 assists for the Commodores, while Zuzi had 7.
Western Kentucky's Natalie Powers led all scorers with 30 points, followed by Kristina Covington with 23, Leslie Logsdon with 12, and Camryn Whitaker with 10. Powers and Logsdon were leading rebounders with 3 boards each.
For the game, the Commodores shot 71.4% from the field, and 63.2% (12 of 19) from behind the arc. The Hilltoppers hit 49.2% from the field, and 36% from 3-point range. Vandy dominated the boards, pulling down 35 rebounds compared to only 14 for Western.
Turnovers were a different story, with 26 for Vandy and 15 for Western. Many of Vandy's turnovers came on travelling calls on the first step of drives to the basket. The sizable contingent of Vanderbilt fans who had traveled to Bowling Green for the game took issue with many of these calls.
Vanderbilt (4-1) returns home this weekend for the First Tennessee Tournament. Dartmouth and Indiana State meet in the opener on Saturday at 2 p.m., and Vanderbilt plays Wagner at 4 p.m. The consolation game will be held Sunday at 2 p.m., and the championship will be held at
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The Press: Coach, was the defensive intensity where you'd like it to be, or was the 83 points just a function of the type of game that was played?
Coach Foster: I think it was an interesting game. I'll evaluate the tape from a defensive perspective.
The Press: (inaudible)
Coach Foster: No, I've just been doing this for 24 years, and I'm biting my tongue.
The Press: (inaudible)
Coach Foster: Well, we average 12 turnovers per game, so I'm not concerned about turnovers. I'm not concerned about turning the ball over. I thought our players did some really good things with the basketball tonight.
The Press: Were you expecting to come out and shoot that well tonight?
Coach Foster: We led the country in field goal percentage last year, and we're capable of doing what we did tonight.
The Press: Was that more a function of their lack of size?
Coach Foster: I don't think that was a factor. I think we moved the ball well. I thought we were in good spots, good places to maximize our shooters and our scorers.
The Press; Were there any performances by our reserves that caught your attention in a positive way?
Coach Foster: Ashley Earley continues to rebound the ball. Any minutes Juli Colli gets where we stay in the flow and can play and have productivity when she's in the game and Ashley's not I view as positive. And Candice Storey continues to do the kind of things that we'd expect a veteran player to do. So there's a consistency with that. Somebody has to step up and be a shooter, but that will come.
The Press: (inaudible question about Jillian's shooting against WKy compared to UConn)
Coach Foster: No, she was looking at the basket. I don't think she looked at the basket the other day.
The Press: Do you have any signees for the early signing period, and if so, are you willing to talk about them?
Coach Foster: Nicole Jules. I think she's a terrific player with a lot of upsides. She's 6'3 post player and is very athletic and can shoot a 3 and runs the floor. She's a player that I think will continue to grow in a basketball sense. She's a good one.
The Press: Is this the kind of rebound you were looking for after Sunday?
Coach Foster: I just go out and play games and try to get ready for the league season. We've played a variety of styles. Obviously this is a different style that they play, a style we haven't seen. Then you make adjustments as you go along. Any road is a good win -- any road win.
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Coach Shawn Campbell: I know a lot of people have a little problem with my style, but you have to understand that if we're not disciplined, and we don't do those things correctly, that's a 40 point game. It's not a 20 point game. It's a 20 point game at halftime instead of a 10 point game at halftime. I admit I'm a little bizarre at times. But I've got to get the message across. I call a timeout, and I do like the fans want me to do, being nicey-nicey on the sidelines, and nicey-nicey cost me 4 points from the high post.
Women's Hoops: Vanderbilt 102 WKU 83
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