Vanderbilt women roar past BYU, 86-47

MALIBU, Calif.-- Four Commodores scored in double figures as No. 14 Vanderbilt defeated Brigham Young 86-47 Monday in the opening round of the Hilton Woodland Hills Beach Classic on the Pepperdine University campus. The Commodores (8-1) advanced to face host Pepperdine Tuesday at 9:30 pm CT in the championship game.

MALIBU, Calif.-- Four Commodores scored in double figures as No. 14 Vanderbilt defeated the Brigham Young Cougars 86-47 Monday night in the opening round of the Hilton Woodland Hills Beach Classic on the Pepperdine University campus.

Sophomore point guard Dee Davis paced the Commodore attack with 21 points, including four 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Cherish Stringfield added 16 points off the bench, including three 3-pointers, followed by sophomore post Carla Thomas with 15 point and senior forward Ashley Earley with 14.

Vanderbilt scored the first points of the game on their first possession when Earley grabbed the offensive rebound of a missed 3-pointer from Davis and put it back for two points. From that point on, the Commodores never lost the lead.

In fact, in the first five minutes, it looked as if Vanderbilt would run away with the game easily. A 3-pointer by Ambrosia Anderson put BYU on the scoreboard, but then a couple of foul shots from Earley, two baskets from Thomas from the high post, and an old-fashioned 3-point play by sophomore guard Katie Antony on a fast break gave the Commodores a 13-3 lead .

The Cougars, however, didn't just roll over and play dead. Over the next five minutes, they went on a 10-3 run of their own to cut the Vanderbilt lead to just 3 points at 16-13 with 10:22 left in the half.

A 3-pointer by Davis put a halt to the BYU run, and a minute later when she scored on a fast break following a steal by Antony, the Vanderbilt lead was back to 10 points at 24-14. But the Cougars kept hanging around for a while, with each team holding their ground. BYU couldn't make a significant dent into the lead, and Vanderbilt couldn't stretch it out. With 1:26 left in the first half, the Vanderbilt lead was still 10 points at 37-27.

But in the little time left in the half, the Commodores began to pull away. A jumper by Thomas pushed the lead to 12 points at 39-27, then a steal by Antony led to a 3-pointer from Stringfield, giving Vanderbilt their biggest lead of the half at 42-27 before the teams headed to the locker room.

It would get no better for the Cougars in the second half. When Antony scored the first points of the half, BYU answered with a jumper by Kristen Kozlowski. A jumper from Thomas and two 3-point plays from Davis -- one of the old-fashioned variety and of the new - pushed the Vanderbilt lead out to 23 points less than two minutes into the second half.

The lead never dipped below 20 points after that. It exceeded 25 points on a jumper by Thomas with 13:21 left, then surpassed 30 points on a basket by Stringfield with 10:27 left.

Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb used her reserves liberally in the second half, but Vanderbilt nevertheless continued to pull further away until a 3-pointer by Stringfield with 2:51 left in the game gave the Commodores their biggest lead of the game at 86-45. A couple of foul shots from Mary Martha Abell made the final score 86-47.

Vanderbilt shot 48.6% from the field, improving from 42.1% in the first half to 56.3% in the second half. It was just the opposite for the Cougars, who shot 47.8% in the first half but only 26.1% in the second half.

Long-range shooting followed the same pattern. Vanderbilt connected on 4-of-10 3-pointers in the first half (40%) and 6-of-10 (60%) in the second half. BYU hit 2-of-4 in the first half, but only 2-of-10 in the second half.

Vanderbilt held an edge on the boards with 35 rebounds compared to 31 for BYU. Earley was leading rebounder for the Commodores with eight, followed by Thomas with seven. Vanderbilt also had fewer turnovers with only 11 compared to 24 for the Cougars.

With the victory Vanderbilt improved to 8-1 on the season, while BYU fell to 6-3. In other first-round action, the host Pepperdine Waves defeated Wright State, 69-68. BYU and Wright State meet Tuesday in the consolation game, while Vanderbilt faces Pepperdine in the championship game at 9:30 pm CT (7:30 pm PT).

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