Vanderbilt women oust Oakland from NCAA

The Vanderbilt Commodores kicked off their 2002 NCAA tournament run with a 63-38 victory over the Oakland Gold Grizzlies Saturday night in Memorial Gym.

Oakland scored first in the game, but that early 2-0 lead lasted less than a minute. Vandy immediately reeled off 10 straight points to take a 12-2 lead with 12:21 left in the first half. Oakland never cut the lead to single digits again. The biggest lead of the first half was 19 points at 30-11 with 4:12 left, but six straight Oakland points cut the lead to 30-17 at halftime.

The Oakland run continued into the second half when Katie Wolfe hit Oakland's only 3-pointer of the game to cut the Vandy lead to 10 points at 30-20. But, aided by several Oakland turnovers, the Commodores soon padded their lead, which reached 20 points at 45-25 with 11:52 left in the game and continued to grow until the final buzzer sounded with the score of 63-38.

Vanderbilt was led in scoring by Chantelle Anderson with 28 points, followed by Ashley McElhiney with 12. Anderson was also leading rebounder with 13, followed by Jenni Benningfield with 7. Four different Commodores contributed 2 assists each.

Though Vanderbilt's offense at times was slightly out-of-kilter, the defensive effort continued without abate throughout the game. Vandy's defense focused on limiting the opportunities for Oakland's top two scorers, Sarah Judd and Katie Wolfe. Judd, who scored 38 points in the Mid-Continent tournament championship game, was held to 14 points, while Wolfe scored 16. No other Oakland player scored more than 2.

For the game, Vanderbilt shot 41.8% from the field, compared to 32% for Oakland. Vanderbilt out-rebounded the smaller Golden Grizzlies 40-26 and had 11 turnovers compared to 14 for Oakland.

Next the Commodores will face Arizona State University on Monday night. The #8-seeded Sun Devils advanced by defeating the #9-seeded Wisconsin Badgers 73-70 in the first game of the evening. Gametime is approximately 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and the game will be telecast on ESPN2.


The Press: When you got tangled up under your basket, you started pulling down rebounds like you were a little bit ticked off. Did that stir up something inside you?

Chantelle: Well, before that I was just really frustrated with my play up to that point, and I think after that point, I stopped being frustrated and got a little mad. Sometimes I play better when I'm mad. Sometimes I don't, sometimes, I do. Coach Foster had a little bit to do with that. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes. He knows exactly what to say to me.

Coach Foster: I think what she's saying is that I know how to make her mad.

The Press: What did you say to her?

Coach Foster: You'll never know.

The Press: You did win, but were you happy with the game?

Coach Foster: Let Ashley answer that.

Ashley Mac: Well, we came out on top, but I don't think we played to our potential tonight. It's been about two weeks since we last played, and I think it showed tonight. This game's behind us now. Hopefully we got the rust off. We didn't play like we wanted to play tonight. I guess that's the bottom line. So we just have to put it behind us and come out and play against Arizona State.

The Press: Zuzi, do you think that's what it was, a little bit of rust?

Zuzi: Probably, I don't think I was aggressive enough. I gave up a lot of shots that I normally would have taken. But at the same time, it's a win. Maybe it's a good that we had a game like this now, so that we can just do better in the upcoming games.

The Press: Chantelle, did Judd kind of frustrate you on the offensive end?

Chantelle: I was rushing shots and not using the backboard, and I think that had more to do with what I was doing. I did get a little frustrated when she blocked my shot once in the first half, and I thought she fouled me but they didn't call it. Then she blocked my shot again cleanly, and that kind of frustrated me. But other than I think it was more that I was rushing my shots and not using the backboard. I don't think I usually have two bad shooting games in a row, so we'll have to see about that.

The Press: I don't know how much you watched the game before, but what about Arizona State jumps out at you, Ashley?

Ashley Mac: They're here for a reason. Obviously, they're a great team. They beat a good team tonight, so I'm sure that we'll start preparing for them tomorrow. I can't say much about them other than that they're a great team, and we'll have to come out ready to play them Monday night.

The Press:Again, what did Oakland do against you all that gave you problems early on?

Coach Foster: I think it was just that we haven't played in two weeks. I think they played hard; I think they're a good basketball team. How many times do I have to tell you guys that there's only good teams left? They're hard-nosed. They've got two very good players. Judd's a very very tough kid mentally. I have a lot of respect for what they did. Getting our timing back --. there was a point in the second half when we started to get our timing back and got in more of a flow offensively. I thought our defensive effort was terrific, as good an effort as we've had this year. The tempo of the game was the way we wanted it.

The Press: I guess at this time at year it's not about style as about substance?

Coach Foster: I think it was a postseason game. Not a lot of turnovers. A lot of banging. Physical. Competitive.

The Press: What's the disappointment?

Coach Foster: Who's disappointed?

The Press: The players sounded disappointed.

Coach Foster: I think that they're frustrated with their performance in some dimensions. I think they're happy with -- like, I don't think Chantelle is disappointed in the fact that she got 13 rebounds. She's probably doing cartwheels. I think the timing of your offense when you don't play for two weeks can be a little suspect, especially for a half-court team. It's not like we're going run out and get a lot of layups in transition. I think the tempo was the way we like it. I think tightening a few things up. I'd much rather play a team like that than a team that just wanted to go up and down the floor. I think there was a rhyme or reason. They were patient. I think what you saw was a postseason basketball game. Two teams that played that way through the course of the season and were good enough in what they do to win their leagues.

The Press: You said it's a dose of reality to lose in a tournament like this, what would you tell them to go home feeling?

Coach Foster: I thought they had an incredible leader in Judd, in her demeanor. Who's going to take the next step to replace her? The Wolfe kid I think competed all night, moving without the ball all night, gave them a spark all night. They have a lot of character and a lot of heart. I have a lot of respect for their team.

The Press: Coach, could you speak to the aggressiveness and hustle of your other two seniors?

Coach Foster: I thought we played really hard on defense. I think any time you hold a team to 38 points and really work as hard as we did . . . I thought Jillian did a terrific job defensively on the Judd kid. She limited her touches. Obviously we're concerned. Here's a kid coming off a 38 point game and a 30 point game before that. We don't want to give her her touches. We don't want to let her take 20-something shots. They wanted her to take 20-something shots. So I think defensively Jillian did a great job of limiting her.

The Press: Coach, looking at Arizona State, they put on a terrific show in the second half. Tell me a little bit about them.

Coach Foster: Terrific point guard, good post player, and a kid who had her career best game. Good team. They beat Stanford to win the Pac 10 tournament. They've won 25 games. Good team.

The Press: There will be people who look at this game and look at this score and look at UConn's pasting of St. Francis, for example, and look at those margins of victory. I know you don't care one way or another, but what do you say to those people?

Coach Foster: I would say look at the style of play and look at the tempo of basketball. It depends on how well I know them. I would say something a little more profane if they're a good friend of mine. We play at this tempo. We're a 55 shot team. That's what we took -- 55 shots. They took 50. If I had those racehorses that Geno had, we might not be a 55-shot team. But we won a lot games playing that way, and that's what we are. And I certainly won't apologize for it. Top Stories