Women's Hoops: Public scrimmage Saturday

A Black & Gold Scrimmage on Saturday, October 19, in Memorial Gym will give Vanderbilt women's basketball fans their first look at the 2002-03 Commodores. Doors open at 2 p.m., and the scrimmage is free and is open to the public.

"We want to give the fans a peek to get them excited about what we're doing," said Head Coach Melanie Balcomb after practice on Thursday.

"It's kind of like Midnight Madness, but usually Midnight Madness is ugly, with the coach basically sitting there hoping nobody gets hurt in a very out-of-control unstructured scrimmage. We've practiced for a week, so it's not chaotic; it's a little more organized."

If all goes well, first the team will scrimmage against each other, with the ten available players divided into teams as equal as possible, then scrimmage against the practice guys. However, fall break for Vanderbilt students may necessitate a change of plans, since some of the guys will be away from campus.

The eleventh member of the team, sophomore guard Ashley Earley, who tore her ACL in June, will be held out of the scrimmage. Her rehabilitation is going well, and she has been practicing with the team in all activities that don't involve contact. However, since she won't be cleared for contact for another week or two, she won't be able to participate in Saturday's scrimmage.

Fans, however, will be able to see the team's two freshmen, point guard Erica Grimaldi and center/forward Nicole Jules, for the first time.

"I think they're both doing great," said Balcomb. "I think what has impressed me the most about Nicole is that she's comfortable out there with and against the best post player in the country, and she knows she's going to get better every day."

"And I think Erica is going to help us, too. They're blending right in, so instead of slowing us down as freshmen we're kind of moving along pretty quickly."

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