VU Women Win First Exhibition Game

The women's basketball team celebrated Halloween with a 104-43 victory over Cumberland University in the first exhibition game of the season. Five Commodores scored in double figures, led by Tina Wirth and Liz Sherwood with 16 points each.

Despite the lop-sided final score, Coach Melanie Balcomb wasn't satisfied with her team's performance. "I think that our effort was good for about the first 30 minutes," she said after the game. "I think we really let up at the end and didn't keep our focus. We need to do a better job with that."

But despite the lack of focus in the last ten minutes of the game, the game did accomplish its primary purpose.

"In a game like this we're just trying to get the freshmen's feet wet, play everybody," Balcomb said said. "We want get them on the floor and see how they respond."

Balcomb was especially pleased with how freshman point guard Jence Rhoads' responded to her first venture onto the court in a Vanderbilt uniform.

"Jence played very hard, played very well," said Balcomb. "Defensively, she was everywhere. She worked hard, and she's got really good court sense at the point. I thought she really looked good."

All of the four freshman saw playing time. Rhoads led the team with five steals, scored seven points and had three assists with zero turnovers. Guard Chanel Chisholm scored six points with five rebounds. Post Hannah Tuomi scored seven points with three rebounds, and post Rebecca Silinksi had three points and five rebounds.

Balcomb was also pleased with the performance of the three upperclassmen on the team. Senior Liz Sherwood and junior Tina Wirth led the team in scoring with 16 points each, shooting a combined 14 of 17 shots from the field. Jen Risper scored 10 points, along with six rebounds and four steals. "They really looked good tonight," Balcomb said.

Now that everybody has gotten their feet wet, Balcomb said that in the next exhibition game on Monday, "we'll play to win and look at rotations." But with the first regular season game only 10 days away, there are some other important questions to be answered.

"We have to figure out as a team what our strengths are," she said, "and we have to be more consistent to figure that out.

"I don't think our strengths are going to be the same things they were last year," she continued. "That's obvious. We've got to figure where we're good as a team and what we're going to stand for."

The next exhibition game will be on Monday, November 5, at 5:30 p.m., the first game of a basketball double-header. Afterwards, the men's team will play their first exhibition game of the season at 8 p.m. Then Dores will open the regular season on Friday November 9, when the Blazers from UAB come to visit.

Box score

New video introductions

Starting lineup

Jen Risper

Amy Malo

Jence Rhoads

Chanel Chisholm

Tina Wirth

Liz Sherwood

Lauren Lueders

Ashlee Bridge

Amber Norton

Hannah Tuomi

Rebecca Silinski

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Photos copyright 2007 by Whitney D for

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