Women's hoops: Vandy romps over Harvard, 84-44

The Vanderbilt Commodores defeated the Harvard Crimson 84-44 Sunday afternoon in Memorial Gym in the championship game of the First Tennessee Tournament. Five Commodores scored in double figures in the win, led by senior center Chantelle Anderson with 19 points.

In the first few minutes of the game, neither team was lighting it up from the floor. Vandy hit only 3 of their first 8 shots, and Harvard's lone basket was a 3-pointer from Hana Peljto, putting the score at 7-3 at the first media timeout.

That changed as soon as the teams took the floor after the timeout. Vanderbilt came out sizziing, rolling off 11 straight points, fueled by 8 points from Jenni Benningfield. In all, over the next ten minutes, Vanderbilt connected on 12 out of 15 field goal attempts to build a 22-point lead at 35-13 with six minutes left in the half. The Commodores didn't let up, however, and by the end of the half the lead had grown to 27 points at 42-15.

The second half continued just as the first half ended, as Vanderbilt lead quickly passed 30 points in the first two minutes of the second half, then reached 40 points at 62-22 on a fast break by Tia Battle. As the lead ballooned, the Commodores who don't see much playing time began to take the floor, but the lead nonetheless continued to grow. When Commodores reached their biggest lead of the night at 84-32, none of the Vanderbilt starters were on the court.

In the final minutes of the game, Harvard went into a full court, trapping press, resulting in four Vanderbilt turnovers in the last two minutes of the game. The Crimson took advantage of the miscues, and by the end of the game, the Crimson had cut the Vanderbilt lead to 40 points at 84-44.

Vanderbilt was led in scoring by Chantelle Anderson with 19 points, followed by Ashley McElhiney with 14, Tia Battle with 13, Jenni Benningfield with 12, and Ashley Earley with 10. Hillary Hager, who did not score in the game, was leading rebounder with 8, followed by Anderson with 7, and Benningfield and Earley with 6 each. Six Commodores had at least two assists, led by McElhiney with four.

Only two Harvard players scored in double digits. Hana Peljto led the Crimson in scoring with 15 points, followed by Reka Cserny with 12. Peljto was also leading rebounder with eight, followed by Cserny with 7, and Tricia Tubridy with 6.

For the game, Vanderbilt shot 60.4% from the field (77.8% from 3-point range) while holding Harvard to only 25.8% (12.1% from 3-point range). The Commodores shot 59.1% from the line (13 of 22) compared to 54.5% (6 of 11) for Harvard. Vanderbilt out-rebounded Harvard 45-32. Turnovers were similar with 17 for Vanderbilt and 16 for Harvard. One of the notable statistics from the game were the 33 three-point shots taken by the Crimson, who only connected on four of them.

Following the game, Vanderbilt point guard Ashley McElhiney was named MVP. Vanderbilt center Chantelle Anderson and Vanderbilt forward Jenni Benningfield were named to the all-tournament team, along with Hana Peljto of Harvard, Tara Fleming of Youngstown State, and Desiree Eidson of Central Michigan.

Next, the Commodores travel to Tempe, Arizona, to meet #6-ranked Purdue in the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic II on Saturday.

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