Ashley Earley led the Commodores in scoring with 20 points, followed by Dee Davis (19) and Abi Ramsey with 14. Katie Antony pulled down a team-high seven rebounds and also led the team in assists with six. Davis, who averaged 20 points a game for the tournament, was named tournament MVP, and Earley was named to the all-tournament team.
Though the final margin was comfortable, looks are deceiving. There was nothing easy about this game. It was rough and physical from start to finish.
Earley scored the first basket of the game to give the Commodores their first lead of the game at 2-0, but a 3-pointer from Lauren Wenski soon gave Pepperdine the lead. For the first few minutes, the score went back and forth, with the Waves holding a 10-6 lead five minutes into the game.
But then the Commodores caught fire. Ramsey answered with first 3-pointer of the game. Davis followed suit, and Vanderbilt was off and running, reeling off a 19-0 run before the dust settled to take a 25-10 lead halfway through the first half.
A jumper by Jennifer Lacy broke the Waves' scoreless streak, but Ramsey and Davis each sank another 3-pointer to stretch the Vanderbilt lead out to 18 points at 31-13 with 8:06 left in the half.
But the tables would turned, and over the next seven minutes, Vanderbilt didn't connect on a single field goal until junior post Nicole Jules made a layup with just over a minute left in the half. In the meantime, Pepperdine had managed to trim the Commodore lead back to single digits at 34-25. Vanderbilt led 38-28 at the break.
Lacy scored the first points of the second half, trimming the Vanderbilt lead back to just eight points at 38-30. But a couple of Vanderbilt steals led to a five quick points, putting the Commodores back up by 13.
From that point on, the Waves were unable to make a sustained run, and little by little, the Commodore lead began to grow. A jumper by Earley with 10:49 left in the game gave the Commodores their first 20-point lead of the game, and a pair of foul shots by Davis increased the lead to 25 points at 66-41 with 5:53 left in the game.
With four minutes left in the game and the score 70-42, Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb took the last starter out of the game. But the reserves were able to maintain the lead, holding the Waves to just one field goal and a couple of free throws for the rest of the game. Sophomore guard Caroline Williams' second 3-pointer of the game and a pullup jumper by sophomore guard Cherish Stringfield ended the scoring for the night as the Commodores claimed the 78-46 victory.
For the game, Vanderbilt shot 49.1% from the field, 40.0% from 3-point range, while holding Pepperdine to just 28.6% shooting from the field, 27.3% from long range. The teams were nearly equal from the free throw line with Vanderbilt shooting 76.2% (16 of 21) and Pepperdine shooting 76.0% (19 of 25).
The Waves out-rebounded the Commodores 34-31. Each team had 21 defensive rebounds, but Pepperdine had 13 offensive boards compared to 10 for Vanderbilt. The turnover margin was overwhelmingly in Vanderbilt's favor as the Commodores committed only 13 turnovers while forcing the Waves into 31.
With the win, Vanderbilt improves to 9-1 on the season. The team will take a break for the Christmas holidays before returning to practice Dec. 27. The next game for the Commodores is in New Orleans on Dec. 30 vs. the University of New Orleans. The next home game is Jan. 2 vs. Troy State.