All fourteen players on the Commodores' active roster played at least 4 minutes in the game, and Ashley Earley was the only starter who played more than 24 minutes. Jillian Danker led the Commodores in scoring with 19 points, including a perfect 7 of 7 from the free throw line, followed by Chantelle Anderson with 18 points including 8 of 10 from the field.
Vanderbilt attacked from the opening tip. Freshman Ashley Earley scored the first four points of the game on a pair of offensive rebounds and put-backs. Before five minutes had elapsed, both Anderson and Zuzi Klimesova each had followed suit, and Jillian Danker had an old-fashioned 3-pointer on a foul on a fast break to go along with a bomb from behind the arc.
By the time Coach Jim Foster made his first substitutions with 15:07 remaining in the first hand, Vanderbilt had jumped out to an 18-2 lead. Throughout the game, the Commodore defense focused on Louisville guards. For most of the game, Vanderbilt used a box and one on the biggest scoring threat on the floor, forcing other players to take shots. As a result, the Cardinals shot an abysmal 15.8% from the floor in the first half and improved only to 29.2% in the second half.
Throughout the first half, Vanderbilt continue to build the lead. With 12:30 left in the half, the Commodores led 23-2. At the 3:53 mark, the Vanderbilt lead had grown to 29 points at 37-8. During the half, the Cardinals managed only 6 field goals for a halftime score of 42-14. Holding a team to 14 first-half points is the second best defensive performance for a half in Vanderbilt history.
In the second half, the Commodore defense continued to be effective, holding the Cardinals to only 18 points in the half on 29.2% shooting from the field. The Commodore offense dropped sharply in efficiency, however, as Coach Foster rotated a steady stream of players into the game. Five minutes into the first half, the Vanderbilt lead passed 41 points for the first time when a layup by Chantelle Anderson gave the Commodores a 58-19 lead.
But from that point on, two baskets from Candice Storey were the only Vanderbilt points from the field for the entire rest of the game. Frequent fouls by Louisville sent a steady stream of Commodores to the free throw line. Despite the poor shooting from the field in the second half, however, Louisville never cut the lead below 37 points. When the final buzzer sounded, the Commodores had earned a 71-32 victory.
Vanderbilt was led in scoring by Jillian Danker with 19, followed by Chantelle Anderson with 18, and Zuzi Klimesova and Ashley Earley with 8 points each. Earley was leading rebounder with 13 boards, followed by Zuzi Klimesova with 11. Klimesova led in assists with 5, followed by Jenni Benningfield with 4.
No Cardinals scored in double figures. LaKisha Hoffman was leading scorer with 9 points, followed by Sara Nord and Janelle Antoine with 5 each. Nord, who is leading the NCAA in assists with 10.3 per game, had 0 assists for the night. Carol Brown was leading rebounder for Louisville with 7, followed by LaKisha Hoffman with 6.
For the game, Vanderbilt shot 44.2% from the field (29.4% from 3-point range) compared to 21.0% for Louisville (12.5% from 3-point) range. Vanderbilt also out-rebounded the Cardinals 45-38 and had fewer turnovers with 12 compared to 15 for Louisville. The Commodores scored 32 points in the paint compared to only 10 for Louisville.
The Press: Were you a little more pleased with the defensive effort tonight, coach?
Coach Foster: Yeah. We're going to be a good defensive team before it's over. We've been working hard at it. I thought we had a great deal of energy and intensity at that end. That was everybody.
The Press: Was Louisville's offensive trouble due to their not shooting or your defense?
Coach Foster: I thought our defense was terrific. I think that a couple of their best shooters didn't get the looks, and then other people are taking the shots that maybe don't normally take them.
The Press: Talk about your defense on Nord and Sober. It looked like you all were keying on them.
Coach Foster: Yeah, we thought that they were the key to the basketball team and went after them very aggressively and tried to them out of it. I thought our kids did a great job of recognition, knowing where they were, and keeping them in front of them.
The Press: Jillian, talk about your free throw shooting. Are you feeling like you're in a zone there at the line?
Jillian Danker: Really, it was just kind of brought to my attention that my free throwing shooting needed to get better. So I've just been doing my best to make it better.
The Press: Jenni, did you have any special feelings playing against your hometown school?
Jenni Benningfield: It is exciting playing against your hometown. But you can't really focus on it. You've got to really focus on executing and playing our game and really focus on that. But again, it's exciting to get to play against someone you know. But again you have to come out on focus on your team.
The Press: Jenni, are you getting a little more comfortable coming off the bench now?
JennI: Yeah, I've just got to come out and do what the team needs me to do, whatever that might be. And with the time I get out there, I've just got to leave it all out there and just go after everything.
The Press: (inaudible)
Coach Foster: I thought we had a great defensive effort, and everybody who played played good defense. I think it's tough to play that many people and have any offensive continuity. But the energy we had at the defensive end of the floor was terrific. I don't think we're going to be as good a basketball team as we can be if we don't have that kind of energy.
The Press: (inaudible)
Chantelle Anderson: Well, we were very cognizant of the fact that they had just beaten a very good team, and we just came in and were focusing on this game and realized that we had to step up and beat a good team as they proved the other night. We just wanted to step on it from the start. And that's what we did. Of course that gives you confidence for the rest of the game obviously. I think it is important for us to continue to get off to good starts, because a lot of times we may dig ourselves a hole we can't get out of, and the game can be lost in the first five minutes.
The Press: Can you talk a little about Ashley Earley's ball sense, with her getting 13 rebounds tonight? She always seems to be in the right place at the right time? Is that a little precocious for her as a freshman?
Coach Foster: She's a talented kid, and when she learns how to play without the ball, she'll be a great player. Right now, she's a high level rebounder and when she's got the ball in her hands, but she doesn't know how to play yet. She's the kind of kid that every team she's played on, it was through her. A lot of times players have to make that adjustment as they go to the next level. But her skills-- what she does, she gives us another dimension. Again, it allows us to be deeper in the post and score different ways. We're just a more diverse basketball team. And the more pieces that you have, the more things you can do, the harder you are to play against.
The Press: It looked like the first three or four minutes, it looked like your offense was throw the ball to get rim then go get it.
Coach Foster: Well, I would say this to you. She just has a knack and a sense for the ball, a desire to go get it, and a little bit of st