Women's Hoops: Commodores Trounce UWM

The Vanderbilt Commodores bounced back with a vengeance from Saturday's loss in Arizona with a 98-51 trouncing of the Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers on Tuesday night in Memorial Gym.

Seven Commodores scored at least eight points in the rout, led by Chantelle Anderson with 22 points. Abi Ramsey notched a career high 18 points, as well as a career high in 3-pointers made with 5 out of 7 attempts. Jenni Benningfield added 17, including 5 of 5 from the free throw line.

In the first couple of minutes of the game, it looked like a long range shootout was in the making. UWM came out in a zone, packing it in around Chantelle Anderson, and 15 seconds into the game, Ashley McElhiney sank a 3-pointer. Anne Witte countered with a 3-pointer for UWM, then Hillary Hager hit another for Vandy to give the Commodores a 6-3 lead.

However, it soon became apparent that the shootout was destined to be one-sided. After Witte's 3-pointer at the 19:12 mark in the first half, the Panthers didn't hit another field goal until Jessica Wilhite sank a 3-pointer with 6:13 left in the half.

In the meantime, the Commodores kept bombing away. After Hillary Hager picked up her second foul with 16 minutes left in the half, Abi Ramsey entered the game and sank two quick 3-pointers. With the outside shooters wreaking havoc, the inside loosened up and Chantelle Anderson rolled off 10 straight points. Then it was back to the outside with Ramsey hitting two more 3-pointers. In all, the Commodores connected on nine out of 13 shots from 3-point range to help push the lead out to 56-13 at halftime.

In the second half, the Commodores turned increasingly to their bench. Senior point guard Ashley McElhiney, who played 40 minutes against Purdue on Saturday, played only nine minutes in the second half. Freshman walkon guard Erica Grimaldi took over at the point. Fellow freshman Nicole Jules played 12 minutes in the second half, reaching a career high 9 points on 4 of 6 shooting from the field. The only starter who played more than 10 minutes in the second half was Hillary Hager, who had sat out much of the first half with foul trouble.

With Vanderbilt's starters playing limited minutes, UWM was able to keep the margin from ballooning, but the Vanderbilt lead never dropped below 40. The Commodore's lead reached its largest at 54 points at 81-27 when Jules scored on a fast break with 10:16 left in the half. As the game neared the end, Vanderbilt approached the 100-point mark, and the crowd in Memorial was cheering for the Commodores break the milestone. But on Vanderbilt's final possession, Vandy called off the dogs, and Grimaldi dribbled out the last 15 seconds as Vanderbilt sealed the 98-51 victory.

Vanderbilt was led in scoring by Chantelle Anderson with 22 points, including 7 of 9 from the field and 8 of 11 from the line. Abi Ramsey added 18, Jenni Benningfield 17, and Hillary Hager, Nicole Jules, and Ashley Earley each added 9. Earley was leading rebounder with 7, followed by Benningfield with 6. Ashley McElhiney dished out 10 assists with only 1 turnover, and Tia Battle had 4 steals.

UWM was led in scoring by Kimberly Becker with 14, followed by Maria Viall with 13. Viall and Teri Huff each had 5 rebounds, and Antoinette Gregory had a team-high 4 assists.

For the game, the Commodores shot 59.6% from the field (52.6% from 3-point range) and 74.1% from the line, compared to 34.0% (31.3% from the 3-point range) and 59.6% from the line. The Commodores shot over 50% in both halves, but the Panthers dramatically increased their shooting percentage from 13.6% in the first half to 50% in the second half.

The boards weren't as lopsided as the rest of the game, though Vanderbilt held the edge at 35-30. The Commodores, however, forced 30 turnovers by UWM, resulting in 37 points, while committing 17.

With the victory, Vanderbilt moves to 5-1 for the season, while UWM falls to 3-5. The Panthers will now return home after a long road trip, and the Commodores will stay at home as they host Austin Peay on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. in Memorial Gym.

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