VU women thrash Georgia; Title game tonight

DULUTH, GA-- On Friday Vanderbilt had an offensive explosion in a win over Florida. On Saturday the Vanderbilt women used a suffocating defense to beat Georgia, 81-56, as the Commodores limited the Lady Bulldogs to just 18 first half points.

Vanderbilt built an early 7-0 lead and did not allow the Bulldogs to even score until almost 3 minutes into the contest. Caroline Williams and Tina Wirth both made 3-point shots within a minute of each other to put the Commodore lead at 18-6 with 12:08 remaining in the half. Caroline then added another 3-point shot with 10:35 left to make the Georgia deficit 17 at 23-6.

After picking up her second foul starter Dee Davis was replaced by freshman Meredith Marsh. Marsh responded by scoring 7 points, dishing out 2 assists and grabbing 2 rebounds during the half. Marsh's 3-point shot with 2:40 remaining coupled with 2 free throws in the final seconds of the half helped Vanderbilt to enjoy a 37-18 halftime lead.

Vanderbilt continued the Lady Bulldog thrashing in the second half. The lead reached 24 on a lay-up by Caroline Williams with 12:22 remaining. Another Wirth 3-pointer made the score 55-28 with 11:15 left.

Marsh, who was reinserted into the game after Dee Davis picked up her fourth foul, put Vanderbilt up by 31 on two free throws with 7:20 left. Marsh made 10 of 10 free throws and scored a career high 15 points for the game.

The closest Georgia would get to Vanderbilt in the final 10 minutes was 25 points. Vanderbilt limited Georgia to just 33 percent from field goal range and 16 percent from 3-point range for the game. Meanwhile Vanderbilt converted on an impressive 60 percent of their field goals for the game and 61.5 percent of their 3-pointers. Vanderbilt also made 85 percent of their free throws including 18 of 20 in the second half.

Wirth led Vanderbilt in scoring with 21. Georgia was led in scoring by Tasha Humphrey and Cori Chambers who each had 17.

"You win championships with defense, and that's something we haven't been able to do." Put the two together [offense and defense], I think we can really be tough," said a happy Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb after the game.

Balcomb's counterpart, Andy Landers, wasn't in such a good mood, "I think it's pretty obvious, Vanderbilt did what Vanderbilt wanted to do. They did it the way they wanted to do it. We didn't affect it very much," said a stunned Landers after the game.

The Commodores are now 35-23 all-time in the SEC Tournament.

Vanderbilt improves to 26-5 with the win and will face LSU tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. CST. It will be the seventh time Vanderbilt has appeared in the championship game. Vanderbilt has won the tournament 4 times, most recently in 2004. Georgia will now await NCAA selection Sunday for a likely at large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Top Stories