Women's Hoops: Commodores down Lady Govs, 84-50
Despite a couple of early turnovers, the Commodores jumped out to a 6-0 lead, and the Lady Govs never caught up. Vanderbilt didn't put the game away immediately, however, as Peay kept the game relatively competitive for about ten minutes. Benningfield's put-back following an offensive rebound gave the Commodores their first double-digit lead of the night at 18-7 with a little over nine minutes left in the half.
From there, it became just a matter of steadily building the lead and hanging on to it. The Commodores pushed the lead up to 20 at 33-13 on a pair of free throws by Ashley Earley, and Tia Battle's 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Vanderbilt a 46-20 halftime lead.
Vanderbilt scored the first two baskets of the second half to take a 30-point lead at 50-20. From that point to the end of the game, the lead see-sawed around 30 points, never falling below 24 points and never surpassing 35. The biggest lead of the night came at the very end of the game when freshman point guard Erica Grimaldi was fouled as she finished a fast break and hit the awarded free throw to make the score 84-49. A final made free throw by Jessica Grayson ended the scoring at 84-50 in favor of the Commodores.
Vanderbilt was led in scoring by Jenni Benningfield with 20 points, followed by Chantelle Anderson who finished with 15 points including 9 of 10 from the free throw line, despite spending significant time on the bench due to foul trouble. Ashley Earley scored 15 off the bench, hitting 5 of 6 shots from the field and 5 of 6 from the line. Ashley McElhiney was the fourth Commodore to score in double figures with 14. Benningfield was also leading rebounder with 10, followed by Anderson, Abi Ramsey, and Earley with 6 each. McElhiney dished out 6 assists, Earley had 4, and Anderson and Benningfield each had 3. McElhiney is now only 4 assists shy of the Vanderbilt record for career assists, which opens up the possibility that she could set record in her homecoming game to be held at UT-Martin next Sunday.
Brooke Armistead, Austin Peay's leading scorer, led the Lady Govs with 14 points, well below her average of 21.4 points per game. Gerlonda Hardin notched a double double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. No other Lady Govs scored in double figures.
For the game, Vanderbilt shot 62.2% from the field (including 50% from 3-point range) and 76.7% from the line. Austin Peay shot 30.4% (15% from 3-point range) and 50% from the line. Overall, rebounding was nearly equal with 36 for Vanderbilt and 35 for Austin Peay, but the Lady Govs snagged an impressive 24 offensive rebounds, which helped them to 15 second chance points. Austin Peay had 15 turnovers, while Vanderbilt had 18.
With the win, Vanderbilt improves to 6-1, while Austin Peay falls to 4-2. Vanderbilt's next two games are on the road. Next Sunday, Vanderbilt will play UT-Martin, which is just a few miles away from Ashley McElhiney's home town of Gleason. Then after Christmas, the Commodores will travel to Dallas to play TCU on December 28.
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