Tip off! Starting lineup: Dee Davis, Caroline Williams, Tina Wirth, Carla Thomas, and Liz Sherwood. The Premier Players, who defeated Florida 82-66 on Sunday, were a squad of former college players, including some from the ACC and the SEC. The Commodores got off to a slow start, falling behind 10-4 in the early minutes.
One day Carla Thomas might miss a free throw, but Monday wasn't that day. Her 15 points for the game included a perfect 7-for7 from the free throw line. These free throws helped the 'Dores climb out of the early hole they had dug.
Back in the olden days, Arkansas point guard Amy Wright and Vanderbilt point guard Ashley McElhiney had a heated rivalry. On Monday night, Wright was back in Memorial Gym facing the next generation of Vanderbilt point guards, including McElhiney's successor, Dee Davis.
This 3-pointer by Caroline Williams gave Vanderbilt a 19-14 lead. From that point on, the 'Dores began to pull away.
The 'Dores took a 39-26 halftime lead. In the second half, Jen Risper got the steal and the score to push the Vanderbilt lead to 25 points at 55-30.
With the big lead, the freshmen got a lot of playing time, and the upperclassmen cheered them on.
The scariest moment of the game came in the second half when Amber Norton crashed to the court after a collision. After several minutes with the trainers, she was able to leave the court under her own power.
Freshman guard Ashlee Bridge finished the game with 7 points. She hit 5 of her 6 free throws, including two awarded after a technical foul on Leah Metcalf with two minutes left in the game. Those free throws gave Vanderbilt a 35-point lead at 79-44. When it was all over, Vanderbilt won by a score of 83-56.
The Premier Players brought a familiar face to Memorial Gym. Kornell Battle, who was Director of Basketball Operations for the women's basketball team for three years, is the assistant coach of the team. Caroline Williams and Dee Davis came to Vanderbilt at the same time he did and had a few minutes to visit after the game.
After the game, Amber Norton appeared to be no worse for wear after her collision with the hardwood, much to the relief of her family, who had driven down from Louisville for the game.
The next action for the 'Dores is the start of the regular season on Sunday afternoon, November 12, in Boulder, Colorado, when they visit the University of Colorado Buffs. After that, there's another road game at Western Kentucky on November 16, and finally the home opener against Dartmouth on November 18.
Photos copyright 2006 by Whitney D for VandyMania.com.