Vanderbilt bombs Florida, 105-77

DULUTH, GA-- Christina Wirth scored 19 points and four other Commodores scored in double figures as Vanderbilt blasted Florida out of the SEC Tournament, 105-77. Vanderbilt made a sizzling 73 percent of their 3-point attempts (11 0f 15) for the game.

Vanderbilt wasted no time getting it going from 3-point range. Wirth, who made all 5 of her 3-point attempts, scored the first Commodore three just 1 minute and 17 seconds into the game to put her team ahead 12-7.

With 14:54 remaining in the half senior Caroline Williams joined in the fun from behind the arc, bombing in a three that put the Commodores up by 10, 17-7. Williams went on to score 16 points, making 4 of 5 of her 3-point attempts, much to the delight of a large contingent of her family and friends in the Vanderbilt section.

The Gators cut the Vanderbilt lead to 7 at 21-14 on a lay-up by Sha Brooks with 12:10 remaining in the half. However, Vanderbilt's tight defense would not allow Florida get any closer. Carla Thomas made two free throws with 8:37 left to extend the Commodore lead to a 17 point margin, 33-16. Williams added another three-pointer with 6:40 remaining in the half to get the lead to 19 at 38-19. In the final minutes of the first half a technical foul on Florida head coach Carolyn Peck along with treys by Wirth and Williams helped the Commodores to build a comfortable 54-34 halftime lead.

Vanderbilt continued their hot shooting in the second half. Another Wirth 3-point shot put the Commodore lead at 22 with 16:53 remaining in the game.

Florida, who switched to full court pressure with 15 minutes remaining in the game, was able to cut the Commodore lead to just 15 on a basket by Jennifer Mossor with 12:16 to go in the game. Vanderbilt then built its lead to 24 when freshman guard Jessica Mooney scored on a lay-up with 8:31 remaining to play.

Vanderbilt played mostly reserves in the final moments and the closest Florida would get was 19 with 4 minutes remaining. Vanderbilt largest lead of the game was the 28-point final margin.

Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb attributed her team's great shooting to confidence, "I think tonight we're just excited to play and we're confident. I think we know our offenses really well. When we execute we know where the ball is going," commented Balcomb.

In addition to Wirth and Williams, Vanderbilt also had double figure scoring from Thomas (16), Mooney (11) and Dee Davis (15). Florida's Marshae Dotson led all scorers with 20. The 105 points was the most points ever scored by Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament. The last time a team scored more than 100 points in an SEC Tournament game was in 1998 when Tennessee scored 108.

Vanderbilt improves to 25-5 with the win. The Commodores will face the #2 seeded Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday night in the semifinals at 8:15 p.m CST.

The game was Peck's final game as a Gator head coach. A tearful Peck, who is a Vanderbilt graduate and former Commodore player, expressed thanks to her players after the game. When asked what her plans were now that she is no longer the Florida head coach she smiled and replied, "I'm going back to Gainesville with my team." The Gators finished their season with a 9-22 record.


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