Vanderbilt women roll over Memphis, 96-54

The Vanderbilt Commodores cruised to their fifth victory of the season as they defeated the Memphis Lady Tigers 96-54 Wednesday night in Memorial Gym.

Six Commodores scored in double figures, led by sophomore point guard Dee Davis with 21, followed by senior post Ashley Earley with 18. Freshman post Carla Thomas scored 16, sophomore guards Katie Antony and Cherish Stringfield each had 12, and junior post Nicole Jules added 10.

Vanderbilt jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but then for several minutes the two teams exchanged baskets. On two consecutive offensive possessions, the Vandy post players were able to take advantage of Memphis double teams by passing the ball out to Davis in the corner for two quick 3-pointers. However, Jennifer Sullivan countered for Memphis on the other end of the court to keep the game close for the first few minutes of the game.

The Commodore lead briefly reached 10 points at 16-6 with 15:41 remaining, but the Lady Tigers trimmed the lead back to single digits and were able to stay within striking distance for a little while longer. Another layup by Sullivan with 12 minutes left cut the Vanderbilt lead to 7 points at 22-15.

But then the Vanderbilt defense stepped it up a notch. Two quick steals by Vandy led to transition baskets to push the lead back to double digits at 26-15. Memphis called a 30-second timeout, but then another Vandy steal led to two more points on a jumper by Thomas. Add a couple of free throws by Earley, and 3-pointers by Davis and senior guard Abi Ramsey, and suddenly the lead had ballooned to 21 points at 36-15 with nine minutes left in the half.

Then Vanderbilt's offense cooled off. After Antony sank a 3-pointer with 8:28 left, the Commodores didn't score another field goal until Earley connected with less than a minute left. However, the Vanderbilt defense kept Memphis from cutting into the lead so that when halftime came, the Commodores held a 22-point lead at 47-25.

Coming out of the locker room, Vanderbilt got off to a good start, scoring eight points of the half to increase the lead to 30 points at 55-25 within two minutes. The Commodore defense didn't allow a field goal until the 11:35 mark of the second half half, which allowed Vanderbilt lead to reach 40 points at 69-29.

However, during the second half, the officials' whistles blew frequently, sending both teams to the free throw line. While the Lady Tigers had trouble scoring from the field, they were successful at the free throw line, hitting 16 of 20 free throw attempts in the second half.

In the meantime, Vanderbilt's lead inched toward 50 points, but never quite got there. A fastbreak layup by Stringfield following a steal by junior point guard Erica Grimaldi pushed the lead to 49 points at 84-35 with 7:31 left, but that was as big as it got.

With all of Vanderbilt's starters out of the game by the eight minute mark, Stringfield scored 10 of the Commodores last 12 points, including a 3-pointer, a couple of jumpers, a finish on the fast break, and a free throw.

A layup by Marie Reid for Memphis ended the scoring with 14 seconds left in the game, and when it was all over, Vanderbilt claimed the 96-54 victory.

For the game, Vanderbilt shot 51.6% from the field, while holding Memphis to only 30.% From 3-point range, the Commodores shot 36.8% compared to 25% for Memphis. Both teams were very good from the free throw line, with Vanderbilt sinking 82.1% of their shots and Memphis connecting on 80%.

Vanderbilt won the battle on the boards 37-32 and had fewer turnovers with 15 compared to 29 for the Lady Tigers. Sixteen of the Memphis turnovers were the result of Vanderbilt steals.

Vanderbilt's next two games will be on the road. On this weekend the Commodores will travel to Oxford, Ohio, for a Saturday afternoon game against Miami University. Then next Thursday, they'll travel up I-65 for a game at Western Kentucky. Next home game will be on December 12 against the Saint Louis Billikens.

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