Photo Story: VU women beat South Carolina

On Sunday afternoon Vanderbilt finished the regular season by defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks 88-71 in Memorial Gym. After the game seniors Erica Grimaldi and Nicole Jules were honored in Senior Night festivities. Whitney D. shares these photos from the afternoon.

When the South Carolina starters were introduced, a box wrapped in garnet and black took the court along with them. After the Gamecocks were out-rebounded by Mississippi State and Kentucky earlier in the season, the South Carolina coaches had introduced the box to remind the players to box out. The box must have worked its magic because South Carolina out-rebounded the Commodores 38-22.

Junior point guard Dee Davis notched a double double for the game with 10 assists and 14 points, including a perfect 8 for 8 from the free throw line. She also was credited with four steals and had only three turnovers in 32 minutes of playing time.

Juniot guard Cherish Stringfield scored the first six points of the game for Vanderbilt. Her 11 first-half points helped the Commodores build a 14-point halftime lead at 38-24. She finished the game with 15 points, 2 steals, 5 assists and no turnovers.

Senior post Nicole Jules finished the game with 13 points. She would be honored at post-game "Senior Night" festivities, but even in your final regular season home game, there's still something to learn from assistant coach Vicki Picott.

In the second half, the Gamecocks cut into the Vanderbilt lead, but every time they made a run, Vanderbilt had an answer. One of those answers was a steal and a fastbreak layup by freshman guard Jennifer Risper.

Junior guard Caroline Williams finished the game with 14 points, including four 3-pointers out of six attempts. This drive turned into an assist to an assist, as she kicked out to Cherish Stringfield in the opposite corner, who then got the assist by feeding Nicole Jules in the post for two points.

As the game went on, South Carolina sent the Commodores to the free throw line again and again. Junior post Carla Thomas, who finished the game with 15 points, connected on five of six free throw attempts. In all, Vanderbilt shot 86.1% from the free throw line, including 20 of 22 in the second half.

With a few minutes left in the game and Vanderbitlt holding about a 10-point lead, fans in the stands began to chant "ER-I-CA! ER-I-CA!", hoping to see the senior reserve point guard enter into the game.

Soon afterwards, as the crowd cheered, Erica entered the game. She got her chance to get into the scorebook when she was fouled and went to the free throw line. She sank both of her free throws to help seal the 88-71 Vanderbilt victory.

After the game, it was time to honor the seniors.and their parents, as they received flowers and photographs commemorating their careers at Vanderbilt.

Then Erica and Nicole, their teammates and fans enjoyed a highlight film and photo montage on the jumbotron.

Next, Joe Fisher, "Voice of the Commodores", talked with the two seniors about their experiences at Vanderbilt, giving them the chance to express their feelings and appreciation for teammates, coaches and fans.

Caroline Williams watches Nicole and Erica on the jumbotron while Parker Norman, son of assistant coach Stephanie Norman, smiles at the photographer.

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Photos copyright 2006 by Whitney D for Top Stories