The crowd was still trickling into the gym when the national anthem was sung.
When the Dores last played during the Thanksgiving holidays, the student body was on vacation. Wednesday night, the cheerleaders, band, danceline, and students were all back in the gym.
Sophomore point guard Merideth Marsh got the first start of her Vanderbilt career.
Coming off a loss to UConn in their last outing, the Blue Devils were looking to avoid their second consecutive loss.
Liz Sherwood scored Vanderbilt's first four points of the game.
Freshman point guard Jence Rhoads contributed 16 minutes off the bench.
Sophomore guard Jessica Mooney was a spark off the bench on both ends of the court.
Sophomore post Amber Norton played 16 minutes in the game, most of them in the second half.
Marsh was a perfect 4 for 4 from the free throw line.
Sophomore guard Lauren Lueders hit three 3-pointers in the game, two of them in the first half run that brought Vanderbilt back from a 9-point deficit.
Rhoads' free throw finished the scoring for the first half. As they went to the locker room, the Dores trailed 33-30.
Mooney scored in a variety of ways, including creating offense off her defense
Vanderbilt took the lead for good at 53-52 with six minutes remaining. After that, the Blue Devils scored only one point from the free throw line.
In the meantime, the Dores slowly built the lead. When the lead reached 10 points with less than a minute remaining, fans in the gym began to sniff the upset.
But the Dores still had to make their free throws. In the final minute, Marsh hit both of her attempts . . .
. . . then Mooney hit both of hers to finish the scoring for the game at 68-55.
As time wound down, Vanderbilt fans were reminded stay off the court.
What were they thinking - that these students might rush the court?
. . . . or these?
When all was said and done, the scoreboard told the story.
Afterwards, Mooney and Jen Risper talked with the press. "You know how they say," said Mooney. "Young teams are good, but when it comes down to it, they usually get scared and choke and give away the game, but we really stayed composed the whole game and showed maturity ."
Or, as Risper put it, "We played together and stayed together. That's what we said all game."
With the win Vanderbilt improves to 6-1 on the season. Next action is on the road in Calfornia this weekend in the Contra Costa Times Classic in Berkely, California. On Saturday, the Dores will play St. Mary's, followed by a Sunday game against #12-ranked California. The next home game for Vanderbilt will be on Thursday, December 6, when they host Western Kentucky.
Photos copyright 2007 by Whitney D for VandyMania.com