Vandy women down Boston U.

The Melanie Balcomb era at Vanderbilt opened with a 68-51 victory over the Boston University Terriers on Saturday afternoon in Case Gymnasium.

In the early going, it looked as if Balcomb's inaugural game would be memorable for all the wrong reasons. The tenacious Terriers, who returned their top five scorers from last year's 17-11 team, sank their teeth into the #11-ranked Vanderbilt, and for the entire first half, the Commodores struggled to shake them off.

Vanderbilt guard Hillary Hager scored the first basket of the game, and the Commodores managed to scrape their way to a 4-point lead at 13-9 with 9:25 remaining in the half. But then Vandy's offense stalled, while the Terriers chipped away. By the time Chantelle Anderson ended the Commodores' five-minute scoring drought, BU had taken the lead at 16-13. An old-fashioned 3-point play by Anderson tied the game again at 16-16, but BU answered quickly, and the Commodores trailed for the remainder of the half, with Jenni Benningfield's layup to end the half cutting the deficit to just one point.

Fortunately for Vanderbilt, the Commodores' spluttering offense came to life in the second half. After shooting only 35% from the field in the first half, the Commodores shot a blistering 68% from the field in the second half.

The second half turnaround began as soon as the half began. Vanderbilt rolled off an 8-0 run in the first two minutes of the half, capped by a 3-pointer by Hager to give the Commodores a 7-point lead at 30-23. Though the Terriers continued to play aggressively and cut the lead back to 3 points a couple of times, they were never able to reclaim the lead. Jenni Benningfield's free throw with 13:39 left gave the Commodores a 10-point lead, and Vanderbilt continued to slowly build the lead until a pair free throws from Anderson with 1:13 left gave Vanderbilt their biggest lead of the night at 68-49. BU managed one more layup to end the scoring at 68-51.

It was a rough night for Vandy's senior class. All-American Chantelle Anderson's double double was the kind no player wants, with 10 turnovers to go along with her 13 points. Point guard Ashley McElhiney was charged with 8 turnovers.

Fortunately for Vanderbilt, the junior class had their backs, with Jenni Benningfield notching the good kind of double double with 16 points, 13 rebounds -- not to mention 4 charges drawn. Hillary Hager scored 14 points (5 of 6 from the field, 2 of 3 from 3-point range) and pulled down 6 boards. Sophomore forward Tia Battle added 11 points.

Katie Terhune, a unanimous selection to the preseason all-conference team in the America East, led BU with 20 points. No other Terrier scored in double figures. Marisa Moseley was the leading rebounder for BU with 7 boards.

For the game, the Commodores shot 51.1% from the field, while holding BU to only 29.5%. Vanderbilt also held a substantial edge on the boards with 42 rebounds compared to 30 for BU. Vanderbilt, however, turned the ball over 26 times, compared to 18 for BU.

After the game, the Commodores boarded a bus for Syracuse, where they'll play on Tuesday night. Boston University will host Harvard, who just defeated Syracuse, on Tuesday night. Top Stories