Commodores Storm Past James Madison Dukes
After Friday night's lackluster defensive effort, the Commodores' focus on defensive intensity paid off, as they held the Dukes to 30% shooting for the game.
The score was tied briefly at 2-2 in the opening minutes, but the game was never close. In the early going, JMU decided to try to stop Anderson by clogging the paint, so the outside shooters picked up the slack. In the first five minutes of the game, Jenni Benningfield hit two 3-pointers, and Ashley McElhiney and Jillian Danker added one apiece.
By the first media timeout, Vandy had taken a 16-6 lead. Then halfway through the half, the Commodore defense put the clamped down, and Vandy finished out the half on a 18-3 run to head to the locker room with a 42-15 halftime lead.
The Commodores started the second half where they left off at the end of the first. In the first ten minutes of the second half, Vandy staged a 26-3 run. Across the span of those twenty minutes, from the 10-minute mark in the first half to the 10-minute mark in the second half, Vandy outscored the Dukes 44-6. During that run, the Commodore defense almost completely shut down the Dukes, who managed to hit only 3 of 31 shots from the field.
Abi Ramsey's 3-pointer with 6:22 remaining in the game gave Vanderbilt their biggest lead of the night at 83-27. Through the game, Vanderbilt substituted liberally, with ten Vanderbilt players playing more than 10 minutes, and no starter playing more than 28 minutes. By the end of the game, JMU had whittled the lead down to 46 points at 90-44.
Ashley McElhiney led all scorers with 20 points, as she connected on 8 of her 9 shots, including 4 of 4 from behind the arc. She was joined in double digit scoring by Zuzi Klimesova and Chantelle Anderson with 15 each, and Jenni Benningfield with 13 points. Klimesova was leading rebounder with 9, followed by Ashley Earley with 8, and Chantelle Anderson with 7. Jillian Danker and Klimesova each had five assists. JMU was led in scoring by Shanna Price with 15. Price and Katie Hardbarger were leading rebounders with 5 each.
For the game, Vanderbilt shot 66% from the field, including 67% from 3-point range. The Commodores were remarkably consistent, shooting 66.7% in the field half, and 65.5% in the second half. The Commodore defense held the Dukes to 30% shooting for the game, 25% from behind the arc. Vandy outrebounded JMU 38-24. JMU, however, had fewer turnovers with 16, compared to 18 for Vandy.
After a very busy early season, with 10 games in just over three weeks, Vandy's schedule rachets down for the month of the December. Next weekend, the Commodores travel to Temple, but will not have another home game until they host Canisius on December 31 in Memorial Gym.