Chantelle Anderson and Zuzi Klimesova combined for 50 points to lead the Vanderbilt Commodores to a 64-53 victory over the LSU Lady Tigers Sunday afternoon in Baton Rouge.
Vanderbilt jumped out to an early 13-2 lead in the first five minutes of the game. Ultimately, it turned out to a deficit from which LSU would never recover. During the rest of the game, the Lady Tigers made several runs, but never managed to cut the lead below 9 points. For most of the first half, the Vanderbilt lead stood at 13-15 points, reaching 17 points at 31-14 with 3:03 left. But in the final minutes of the first half, LSU cut the lead to 12 points at 34-22.
In the first part of the second half, Vanderbilt pounded the ball to the post and slowly built the lead until it reached 22 points at 54-32 on a basket by Chantelle Anderson with 8:14 remaining. LSU kept fighting, however. A layup and a 3-pointer by Scholanda Dorrell quickly cut the lead back to 17, and the Lady Tigers continued chipping away. A layup by KeKe Tardy with 36 seconds left cut the Vanderbilt lead to 60-51. After a timeout, LSU began to foul to send Vandy to the free throw line. With 29 seconds left, Ashley McElhiney missed the front end of a 1 and 1, but after that Klimesova and McElhiney combined to hit four straight free throws to seal the win for the Commodores.
Vanderbilt was led in scoring by Chantelle Anderson with 28 points, followed by Zuzi Klimesova with 24. Anderson was also leading rebounder with 10, followed by Klimesova with 8 and Jenni Benningfield with 5. Ashley McElhiney dished out a team-high 8 assists, followed by Klimesova with 6, and Anderson blocked 3 shots.
Three Lady Tigers scored in double figures. Aiysha Smith scored 16, followed by KeKe Tardy
with 12 and Temeka Johnson with 11. Smith and Roneeka Hodges each pulled down 6 rebounds, and Johnson had 5 assists.
For the game, the Commodores shot 53.8% from the field, fueled by Zuzi Klimesova who missed only one of her 12 field goal attempts. Once again, the Commodores were cold from 3-point range, connecting on only 2 of 9 attempts from behind the arc. Perhaps the most telling statistics of the game were Vanderbilt's 25 assists on 28 field goals, and 0 field goals by players other than Klimesova and Anderson in the second half.
LSU shot 42% from the field and didn't fare much better than Vanderbilt from long range, connecting on only 2 of 7 3-point attempts. Rebounding was virtually equal, with 33 for the Lady Tigers, including 11 offensive rebounds, and 32 for the Commodores. Likewise, turnovers were close with 12 for LSU and 11 for Vanderbilt.
Next Vanderbilt travels to Arkansas for a Thursday night game with the Lady Razorbacks before returning home to host the Tennessee Lady Vols Saturday night.
Post Game Comments
The Press: Has your front court of Anderson and Klimesova ever had a better game than this one?
Vanderbilt Head Coach Jim Foster: I think, yes, don't ask me when, but yes, they're players. They played with patience and for the most part, played with poise and took their time. Chantelle made a little transformation from being a finesse player to a power player, and I think that helped us a lot. Zuzi is always a player who knows where to be and takes very timely shots and makes good decisions with the basketball.
The Press: Can you talk about the big turnaround from Thursday? Obviously the intense practices paid off.
Coach Foster: Well, we didn't like ourselves Thursday. You can either continue not to like yourself, or you can start to change yourself. We focused on changing who we were. We were intense and went after some things and emphasized some things. I think we've turned into a very good defensive basketball team. We guard people, and we just have to keep growing as an offensive team.
The Press: Are you surprised that you're saying you're a good defensive team and need to become a better offensive basketball team?
Coach Foster: The only thing that surprised me more, Maurice, is you wearing those beads. (laughter) We've always been a good defensive team, but the shape and manner of it might change from year to year, and I think we thought we were a good defensive team, but we were really relying on our offense to win games early in the year. We were winning games by shooting 68%; it's not very realistic to think that you're going to be a good team in this league if you're just depending on that because you've got to guard in this league. And we have evolved into a much better defensive team. I think a lot of the energy is helping us, and I think on the offensive end, we'll continue to grow because in some places, we're pretty young. In some places we're old; our post is old; our perimeter sometimes can get young. So we're still sort of learning our way on the perimeter.
The Press: So can you only do one?
Coach Foster: No. I think we still lead the country in field goal percentage. So don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that we're not offensively good. I'm saying we've got to get better at offense.
The Press: I know you wanted to get the crowd out early. Were you more pleased with the offensive execution or the defensive execution?
Coach Foster: I think probably both at the beginning, once Chantelle got focused on who she should be on the block. I think that really boded well for us at the beginning of the second half. I'm not one that can answer crowd questions. I can't tell you if there are 20,000 people or 200 people. I just thought we were playing well, and playing the way we felt we needed to play to win this basketball game.
The Press: What you were doing inside offensively was pretty obvious. What were you trying to do defensively?
Coach Foster: Well, we just wanted to really guard their perimeter, and I think that we did a pretty good job of it. They have terrific players. They have a terrific scheme. I really like the way they run their offense. I think they're unselfish and set a lot of screens. They run as good a motion offense as there is in the women's game in my opinion. We just wanted to know where their shooters were.
The Press: After the last game there was some criticism about playing as a team? How would you rate our team's performance tonight on that dimension?
Zuzi Klimesova: I think that we have been very unselfish. We always look for the next person to pass the ball to. I think our high lows are great proof of that. I was looking for Chantelle, Jenni was looking for Chantelle, whoever was on the high post was looking for Chantelle. But at the same time, when Chantelle ended up being out, I got great passes from her to just finish right underneath the basket. There's not really an easier shot than that. I think that if we keep on playing like that, that opens up our outside shooters. I think that we did have 25 assists, and I think that is quite a good proof of our unselfishness. At Florida we were looking to pass the ball, but the people who were open were not shooting. And this time everybody was confident, so that helped quite a bit.
The Press: Chantelle, would you rate your effort tonight?
Chantelle Anderson: Well, I've definitely had better shooting nights. I'd say my teammates did a great job of getting me a lot of shots. Coach Foster is right when he said that when I decided to be a power player and take the ball up