Women's Hoops: Vandy tops Ole Miss, 62-42

The Vanderbilt women improved to 16-3 (2-1 SEC) with a dominating 62-42 win over the Ole Miss Lady Rebels. Vandy was led by senior Chantelle Anderson with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Here's the game story, photos, quotes and boxscore.

A strong defensive performance gave the Vanderbilt Commodores their second SEC win of the season as they defeated the Ole Miss Lady Rebels 62-42 Sunday afternoon in Memorial Gym.

Vanderbilt got off to a slow start. Ole Miss built a 12-6 lead in the first four minutes of the game, and with 13:11 remaining in the first half, the Lady Rebels still held a 5-point lead at 15-10.

And then the tide began to turn. After not pulling down a single rebound in the first five minutes of the game, the Commodores started pounding the boards and in the remainder of the half out-rebounded Ole Miss 18-5.  Switching defenses kept the Lady Rebels out of sync, and during those last 13 minutes of the half, Ole Miss made only one shot from the field while missing fourteen.  The Commodores took advantage and built a 30-17 halftime lead.
Mississippi's offensive woes continued into the second half. In the first ten minutes of the half, the Lady Rebels managed only two field goals. By the 10:57 mark, Vanderbilt's lead had grown to 20 at 44-24 on a 3-pointer by Ashley McElhiney. Ole Miss countered with a run of their own featuring two 3-pointers by Carletta Brown to briefly cut the Vanderbilt lead back to 10 at 48-38 with 6:36 remaining in the game.

But Ole Miss would come no closer. A couple of baskets by Zuzi Klimesova kicked off a 12-2 Vanderbilt run, including two 3-pointers from freshman Abi Ramsey, to re-establish a 20-point lead at 60-40 with 3:15 remaining the game. A layup by Chantelle Anderson and a couple of free throws by Von Kirk were the only scoring in the rest of the game, as the Commodores claimed the 62-42 victory.

Four Commodores scored in double figures, led by Chantelle Anderson with 16 points. Zuzi Klimesova and Ashley Earley added 14 points each, and Abi Ramsey scored 11 points off the bench.  Anderson notched her second straight double double, pulling down 11 rebounds to go along with her 16 points. Earley and Klimesova each had 7 boards. Four different Commodores had 4 assists, and Klimesova  had 4 steals.

Ole Miss was led in scoring by Amber Watts, who finished with 10 points. No other Lady Rebel scored in double figures.  TaShondrea Moton was lreading rebounder with 7, and Sherika Wright was assist leader with 3.

For the game, the Commodores shot 46.3% from the field while holding the Lady Rebels to 29.8% shooting.  Vanderbilt also out-rebounded Mississippi 38-26 and had 11 turnovers compared to 13 for Ole Miss.

Vanderbilt's four game home stand is now complete. Four of the next five games for the Commodores will be on the road beginning on Thursday night at Alabama. The only home game remaining in the month of January will be against Florida on January 24.


The Press: Coach, can you talk about the tempo relative to what you've played?

Vanderbilt Coach Jim Foster:  Coaches do what they think they need to do to win basketball games, and I think that they felt that they had to play it at less a tempo, they didn't want to run up and down. They wanted to extend the floor. I think for the most part we were fairly patient. Probably we could have been a little more aggressive at times. Some very young kids need to understand that. But we had a great defensive effort. That's the fourth time in a row. That was probably the focus of the basketball game.

The Press: Coming back to home after the road stand, did you see the kind of response you wanted?

Coach Foster: Well, we're better defensively. We certainly needed to change that part of us. And we certainly did. We've had four very good defensive performances in a row. And except for the Kentucky game -- I think we tied in rebounding with them. We probably didn't rebound as well against Kentucky as we would have liked. And I think that the things that we're doing defensively have made Chantelle a more effective defender and more of a presence in the middle. I think between Chantelle and Candice we've got some shot blockers now. It's just another dimension to us. It was nice to see our freshman -- I thought Ramsey and Earley played very well today and made big shots and made plays, and that's encouraging.

The Press: Can you talk about Ashley's play?

Coach Foster: Well, I think Ashley's learning a lesson. You come in to college and it's a little bit different, and the SEC's a lot different. And I think she's trying to figure that out. Rebounding in this league is a little bit harder than she's used to. And she's going to pick her aggressiveness and I think help us in that dimension but she can score off the bounce, and we've needed that in this program for a long time. And she's very good with the ball. She doesn't make a lot of mistakes -- a great assist to turnover ratio for a freshman that plays in the post, absolutely terrific.

The Press: Can you comment on the 3-point shooting? We struggled a little bit today.

Coach Foster: Well, I think only one player struggled. If you look, McElhiney's 1 for 2, Abi Ramsey's 3 for 6. I think one player struggled today, and someone came in and picked her up.  So I look at it more in that vein. Jillian had a tough day, and Abi Ramsey picked her up.

The Press: Coach, did you do anything different in the 2nd half to limit their shots?

Coach Foster:  Well, I think they probably tried to get a little more patient and try to figure out what we were doing defensively. We changed up a lot today, and we did a lot of different looks defensively, and I think that caused them some problems. But on the whole, great defensive effort. Good job on the boards, took care of the ball. This is a good league win.

The Press: Coach, talk about Zuzi. She kind of goes unnoticed, a lot of people's focus goes on Chantelle right away when they start game planning, and Zuzi's there night after night . . .

Coach Foster: People say that, I don't think she's surprising anyone. I think she's had a terrific career, and I think she does things every night, and if the other teams aren't game planning her,  then they're not watching enough film. She gives us dimensions and does things that a senior should do. I think she'll be a first round draft choice in the WNBA, and shame on them if they're ignoring her.

The Press: Chantelle, can you talk a little bit about the tempo?

Chantelle Anderson: Well, I think we kind of expected them to try to run up and down the floor a little bit more than they did. They tried to slow it down maybe more than they're used to and run a little more halfcourt offense than we thought they would. But we were willing to play however they wanted to, and we don't mind a halfcourt game, and we don't mind a running game either. So I don't think it really affected us.

The Press: Speaking of leadership, can you talk about Candice?

Coach Foster: Candice does great things for us and gives us a lot of energy off the bench. She brings energy into the game. She takes her time. She reads defensively what the other team is doing, and I think that's why her field goal percentage is what it is. It probably went down a little bit today with a rushed shot. But she defends, she blocked a shot, she gives us that dimension. She moves her feet quickly. But between the ears, she's just a special kid. She gives us a lot of wisdom.

The Press: Chantelle, you had another double double tonight for your second in a row, after not having had any earliler in the season. What's the difference?

Chantelle:  I think I'm working a little harder on the boards, trying to block people out more. And I know that for a while I was blocking out, but I was going up for the ball and I wasn't going up strong so it was going through my hands a lot. I was getting my hands on it a little bit more than I had previously but I just wasn't grabbing it. Now I'm grabbing them a little bit more. I read something that said I couldn't rebound, so I don't like people telling me I can't do something.

Coach Foster (interrupting): So keep writing it, please.  (laughter)  She can't block shots. She can't shoot a three. (laughter)

The Press: Coach, do you think the improved defensive is a better thing to take on the road than improve offense would be?

Coach Foster: I think our offensive output is terrific. I mean, my guess we probably still lead this league in field goal percentage. I think the only thing we didn't do today is that we could have been a little bit more aggressive. Our stat of making more foul shots than the other team shoots was not there today, and I think that might have been lack of aggressiveness. But I don't see anything that I would complain about our offense in terms of . . . maybe McElhiney needs to be a little bit more aggressive, maybe McElhiney needs to shoot the ball a little bit more, and we need to pick up that dimension. Everybody else is getting shots that they're very capable of making.

The Press: But in terms of the season's flow, isn't it better to fix something or fill gaps on your home court than it is on the road?

Coach Foster:  Well, I think defense is an attitude. The whole thing is an attitude, and we're developing a little bit of an attitude about defense, and it's become more important to us and we understand that we can't rely on our offense and that the games that we have lost, we didn't guard people. We found a formula that works. We're going to keep after it. I think it keeps Chantelle out of foul trouble. It makes her a better rebounder. It puts a little bit of pressure on the other teams, and it's some different looks and wrinkles we have in our defense right now.  I'd rather have them both functioning at a high level, and I think we're closer to that.

The Press:  Speaking of attitude, how did it feel to be down five or six points on your home court?

Chantelle: Well, I think that we started off kind of slow. We've been focusing on coming out really hard at the beginning of the game, and I think tonight we started off slower than we have in previous games.  And then we kind of woke up, and we were like "Hey ya'll, pick us up."  I think Zuzi showed some senior leadership. She got us together in a huddle and kind of yelled at us -- hey, pick it up and start playing. And we listened to her, and I think that she's been taking more of a role as in senior leadership, being more vocal on the court. I think that really helped, because we turned around that moment when she said that. 

The Press: Candice, talk about when you came into the game and your blocked shot kind of started off that run. What's it like filling that role?

Candice Storey:  i just know when I come in that it's important to do the little things be running down on defense, running down on offense. I think it's important when you're coming off the bench that the other team doesn't think the level of play goes down. So I think it's important, whether it's like two minutes or ten minutes or whatever, it's important that they don't think that . . I mean, because I think you automatically think when the second string comes in or third string or whatever that it's going to get a little bit easier for you. So I think that everybody on our team when they come in, they make it pretty important to show the other team that the level of play doesn't decrease. So I just try to make that happen while I'm in there.

The Press:  Coach, I think you've been averaging like 74 points a game. Was it a conscious decision on your part to slow things up?

Mississippi Head Coach Ron Aldy:  Not really as much as it appeared. We didn't want to get into a scoring contest with them, but at the same time, we wanted to push the ball in transition some to see if we could maybe beat them up and down the floor a few times. But we didn't have in mind what it looked like that last 10 or 12 minutes of the first half, as far as being so passive or so deliberate or unsure about what to do offensively like we were. We knew it would take a very good consistent effort from our team as far as defense, offense, all the way across the board to be able to come in here and have a chance to compete and win a game here against a very good Vanderbilt team.

The Press: Can you talk about little bit about your guard Ally Kelly?

Coach Aldy: Ally's a pretty special kid. Some of you may know or may not know, she came to us and walked on this year. And after she got to our school -- we did not recruit her because we did not know about her -- she came in and went through preseason and in individual workouts and conditioning, she looked to be very special as far as her work ethic and her skills. First at practice she looked impressive and in our exhibition games she led us one of the two games, then on the road at Tennessee Tech, she was our leading scorer and the only player in double figures. So we called her up to the front of the bus and I just sat her down and told her, "You're no longer a walk-on. You're a scholarship player." So she earned that over a very short period of time, and we're very pleased that we were able to be fortunate enough for her to come our way -- not only a very solid little player for a freshman, but an outstanding student-athlete, I think she had a 4.0 first semester, so we feel very blessed and fortunate to have a young lady like that in our program.

The Press: (inaudible)

Coach Aldy: We didn't do anything fancy. We just played, executed, we hit some shots. We felt like defensively we played hard enough. We were making them earn whatever they may have gotten. They didn't have just wide open looks. We didn't put them at the free throw line a lot. We didn't let them jump and score 3 out of 4 times inside the paint, so we felt like if we could that defensively and make them earn some baskets, then we could shoot the ball well and rebound the ball well, then we might have a chance to pull an upset. But as you can see during that stretch, we didn't shoot it well, we didn't rebound well, and we gave up a lot of easy basket opportunities for them. It's no fluke that they have several players, especially their posts, who hit phenomenal percentages from the field. And they outscored us 40-18 in the paint and off turnovers, it was almost twice the amount of points we had, too. We knew at halftime because of the hole we had put ourselves in that it would be next to impossible to come back and even play as good as we could play and still be able to on their home floor and against a very good team to come back and win the game. But we had some fight there in the second half and closed the gap there to maybe 8 or 10 points one time, but we just dug ourselves too deep a hole during the first half. In this league, and of course Vandy's a very good team . . . very disciplined, they play very well together. It's a situation where we wanted to come up and play well and have a very good showing. We didn't feel like we had to win the game to be able to carry a good many positive things with us but we didn't find what actually took place. They have a very fine basketball team.

Vanderbilt's Zuzana Klimesova gets a hand in the eye as she battles Mississippi's TaShondrea Moton for a rebound in the first half.(AP Photo/John Russell)

Mississippi's TaShondrea Moton (20), and Amber Watts (33), battle Vanderbilt's Chantelle Anderson (21), for a rebound in the second half.(AP Photo/John Russell)

Vanderbilt's Jillian Danker, right, gets pressure from Mississippi's TaShondrea Moton, background, and Ally Kelly in the second half.(AP Photo/John Russell)
HOME TEAM: Vanderbilt                62  VISITORS: Mississippi                42
12 BATTLE,  0-0   0-0   0-0   0  0 0  0  02 GIST,TE  0-2   0-0   0-1   0  0 0  0
13 KLIMESO  6-10  0-0   2-2   7  3 2 14  05 CANSDAL  0-0   0-0   0-0   0  0 0  0
20 RAMSEY,  4-9   3-6   0-0   4  0 1 11  10 WRIGHT,  3-13  0-1   2-2   2  3 2  8
21 ANDERSO  7-12  0-1   2-2  11  3 2 16  11 BROWN,C  2-5   2-3   0-0   0  1 0  6
22 MCELHIN  1-2   1-2   0-1   2  3 2  3  12 UFFORD,  0-0   0-0   0-0   0  0 0  0
23 COLLI,J  0-0   0-0   0-0   0  0 1  0  13 KELLY,A  2-5   2-3   0-0   5  1 1  6
24 HAGER,H  0-1   0-0   0-0   0  0 1  0  20 MOTON,T  2-9   0-0   1-2   7  1 3  5
32 EARLEY,  5-10  0-1   4-6   7  3 1 14  21 MADEWEL  0-1   0-0   0-0   0  0 0  0
33 DANKER,  1-6   0-5   0-0   2  2 0  2  22 HENLEY,  0-3   0-2   0-0   1  0 0  0
42 BENNING  0-1   0-0   0-0   1  0 2  0  32 KIRK,VO  1-1   0-0   5-5   0  1 3  7
43 CORBETT  0-0   0-0   0-0   0  0 0  0  33 WATTS,A  4-8   0-0   2-2   3  0 3 10
50 STOREY,  1-3   0-0   0-0   1  0 1  2  44 JACKSON  0-0   0-0   0-0   3  0 4  0

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