Chantelle Anderson led the Vanderbilt attack, scoring 23 points in just 23 minutes of play, followed by Jillian Danker with 17, Ashley McElhiney with 16 (including 4 of 4 from 3-point range), and Zuzi Klimesova with 14. Keri Downs of Dartmouth led all scorers with 26 points.
Like Saturday afternoon's game against Wagner, the Commodores played man-to-man defense for most of the game. However, unlike the earlier game, the Commodores remembered from the opening tip that they're an inside outside team. Chantelle Anderson scored the first basket of the game, and as Vandy pounded the ball inside and the defense collapsed around her, opportunities for the outside shooters opened up. Ashley McElhiney and Jillian Danker capitalized, leading Vandy to a 16-6 lead with 13:42 remaining in the first half.
From there on, the story of the first half was Vanderbilt slowly but steadily increasing their lead. The lead reached 20 points for the first time with 2:58 remaining in the first half, on an old-fashioned 3-point play by Jillian Danker. By halftime, the lead had grown to 25 at 57-32.
Throughout the second half, Vanderbilt continued to build the lead. With 12:22 left, a free throw by Chantelle Anderson gave the Commodores their first 30-point lead, and with 5:17 remaining, a layup by Ashley Earley gave Vanderbilt their biggest lead of the night at 88-49. From there on, Dartmouth and Vandy traded free throws and baskets until the score stood at 98-62 when the final buzzer sounded.
For the game, Vanderbilt shot 62% from the field (43% from 3-point range) compared to 47% for Dartmough (0% from 3-point range). The Commodores outrebounded the Big Green 32-20 and turned the ball over 13 times compared to 18 for Dartmouth. Ten Commodores played more than 10 minutes in the game, and no Vanderbilt player logged more than 26 minutes on the court.
Next, Vanderbilt (6-1) hosts Xavier on Wednesday night in Memorial Gym at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available.
POST GAME COMMENTS
The Press: Coach, was there a better inside outside pattern today?
Coach Foster. Yep. We were much better at getting the ball inside. More patient.
The Press: What happened in the second half? You shot 73% in the first half, but only 48% in the second half.
Coach Foster: We shot 62% for the game. We led the country in field goal percentage last year, and we'll be right there in the hunt this year. Things balance out. If you look to see how many players played double figure minutes, that'll give you an indication of that stat.
The Press: Do you have a better idea of the depth of your bench?
Coach Foster: That's a good question. Some things are clear. There are still a couple of question marks that need answering. It's obvious that Candice Storey is consistent off the bench. It's obvious that Ashley Earley gives us a dimension that we need. She's different than what we have. We have to figure who's coming off that bench shooting. Tia's just coming back and that'll take a while.
The Press: Ashley, talk about the head to head matchup with Keri Downs.
Ashley: I guess she was ready to play us. She played a great game all around. She has a nice shot, a nice hook shot. We didn't do a very good job defending her; I didn't when I was in. I guess you could say we exchanged baskets.
The Press: Will you be adding a hook shot?
Ashley: Well, I'm trying.
The Press: Have you been looking for your shot more?
Ashley: I take the shot when it's there. I try not to force it. When we go inside outside, I think it opens up everyone, and tonight I just happened to be the one who was getting it after we kicked it in.
The Press: Are you being any more assertive on the offensive end?
Ashley: When it's there, I'm going to take it.
The Press: Coach, do you think Ashley is being more assertive?
Coach Foster: I think she knows when it's time to. She knows when to remind people that she's out there. We have a lot of people who can score, and Ashley obviously does a great job of distributing the ball to them. But she can also score. And I think teams tend to forget it, and she's pretty good at reminding them that she's out there.
The Press: When Chantelle picks up her fourth foul, is there a special way Chantelle plays when she gets it?
Coach Foster: Well, she might be the most experienced player in the country in that situation. We're striving hard to make that not a situation that she has to deal with as often as she has. And she will make great strides in that area.
The Press: Chantelle, do you play differently when you pick up your fourth foul?
Chantelle: A little bit, but not too much. Like Coach said, I've had to do it a lot.
The Press: I noticed you were aggressive on rebounds, almost took another player out.
Chantelle: I don't know what to say. The coaches had just talked to us about being strong with the ball, coming down strong, having our elbows out. They came . . .like they were trying to push me out of bounds almost, they were right there. You have to have room to pivot, and they didn't give me that room, so I tried to pivot through them. Unfortunately, I caught the girl across the jaw. According to her coach, it's broken. I really hope not.
The Press: It's part of the game.
Chantelle: Yeah, it is, but it's unfortunate.
The Press: Coach, what do you take out of these two games?
Coach Foster: Well, we're still trying to figure out how deep we're going to be when it gets to be crunch time and where we are defensively. We just needed to play some good hard-nosed man-to-man defense for a couple of games and sort out some things, keep working towards where we'll end up defensively. We've gotta get a handle on something. We've got to be good at something.
The Press: Can you comment on the defensive effort tonight?
Coach: Well, it was hard enough but not smart enough.
The Press: Dartmouth shot 52% in the first half. Does that bother you?
Coach Foster: Well, we've gotta guard better. The team has to understand that just because you walk off with the kind of lead we walked off with at halftime, not to be content to exchange baskets and to have a mentality about stopping people, guarding people. Sometimes talented offensive teams don't put enough effort in that area, and it'll come back to bite you the nights that you aren't shooting the ball well. We've got to get better on defense.