Vanderbilt jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game and never looked back. With 7:50 left in the first half, the Dores were ahead by 20 points at 30-10, and by halftime, the lead had grown to 30 points at 48-18. Five minutes into the second half, a 3-pointer by Lauren Lueders gave Vanderbilt a 40-point lead.
By then, the only question remaining for fans was whether Vanderbilt would reach the magical mark of 75 points, which guarantees free tacos for fans in attendance. A 3-pointer by Merideth Marsh with 3:38 left answered that question in the affirmative.
The comfortable lead allowed Balcomb to go deep into the bench, looking at different combinations of players. All of the team's available players played for at least eight minutes. Only junior post Amber Norton and freshman post Jordan Coleman, who are still sidelined with leg injuries, didn't play.
The scoring in the game was widely distributed as well. Tina Wirth led all scorers with 16 points. Hannah Tuomi scored in double figures for the third straight game with 12 points, and Jessica Mooney added 11. Five other players scored between six and nine points. In all, the Vanderbilt bench scored 31 points.
While fans were enjoying the dominance of the Dores on both ends of the court, Balcomb used the game to help figure out ways to deepen the regular rotation. The five starters from last year's team have started every game this year, but there are still unanswered questions about the rest of the rotation..
"I think right now Chanel Chisholm and Jess Mooney are coming in and giving us good minutes; it's like a starting 7," said Balcomb. "I feel good about the energy and their role coming in and their consistency. We're just trying to find some more depth that can play at the level that our first five are playing at, so we can get to 8 or 9."
The quest for answers will continue this weekend, when the Dores take to the road. On Friday night they travel to Johnson City, Tennessee, to play East Tennessee State University, and on Sunday they'll play the Michigan Wolverins in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The game at Michigan will be televised on the Big Ten network..
The next home games are the Thanksgiving Tournament, which features free admission to all games. Vanderbilt will play Davidson in the first game at 2 p.m. on Friday, November 28, followed by Virginia Tech vs. St. Joseph's. The consolation game will be played the next day at 2 p.m., followed by the championship game at 4 p.m.
Chanel Chisholm and Jessica Mooney
Merideth Marsh for tacos!
* * * * *
Photos copyright 2008 by Whitney D. for VandyMania.com