VU Women Hold Off Razorbacks 72-61

Four Dores scored in double figures, led by Merideth Marsh with 21 points, followed by Jessica Mooney with 14, and Jen Risper and Tina Wirth with 13 points each. Ashley McCray led Arkansas with 20 points. At the end of regulation, the score was tied 57-57, but Vanderbilt prevailed 13-2 in the overtime period.

The box score showed that Vanderbilt played 45 minutes of basketball on Thursday night, but that's not how Merideth Marsh saw it. "If we added up, we probably played about 15 minutes total - five here, five there, five there," she said after the game.

The first five minutes came at the beginning of the first half when the Dores jumped out to a 9-0 lead to start the game. By halftime that solid lead had dwindled to just one point at 27-26.

The second five minutes came at the beginning of the second half when Vanderbilt scored the first seven points to rebuild an 8-point lead at 34-26. But during the rest of the half, Arkansas scratched away to tie the game at 59-59 at the end of regulation.

The final five minutes were the five minute overtime period when Vanderbilt prevailed with a 13-2 margin to win the game.

What happened in between those intervals depends who you ask. "In between there, I think we got comfortable with our lead and just started to relax a little bit and we didn't bounce back," said Marsh. "We get comfortable with our lead and not know how to change it, and I think that's what we did tonight."

Arkansas Coach Tom Collen saw it differently. "I just think it was a game of spurts, where at times we played so incredibly hard and rebounded it so well and defended it so well and during those times we looked like we could beat anybody in the country," he said. "Then there were phases where we would throw the ball away, just not take good care of it, not make good decisions. I guess that's a sign of a young team."

But there wasn't any dispute that the overtime period was decisive. Cierra Ricketts scored the first basket of the overtime, but after that it was all Vanderbilt. The Dores scored the final 13 points of the game, finishing with a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line down the stretch.

"When the game got into the overtime, I think Vanderbilt's experience took over and they've got smart kids," Collen said. "They knew exactly what they wanted to do and where they needed to go and they did what they had to do, and they found a way to win it, and we found a way to lose it."

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Former Vanderbilt star Chantelle Anderson

Cierra Ricketts, one of the top freshmen in the SEC, scored 17 points in the game.

Arkansas Head Coach Tom Collen

Jessica Mooney scored 14 points in the game.

Merideth Marsh sank five 3-pointers on six attempts.

Tina Wirth scored 13 points.

Lauren Lueders feeds Hannah Tuomi

Ashley McCray, a 6-3 junior college transfer, scored 20 points for the Razorbacks, and her 15 rebounds were a big part of Arkansas 58-28 rebounding advantage in the game.

Merideth Marsh gets to the FT line

Jen Risper scored four points in OT

Merideth Marsh hit her Fts in OT . . .

. . . . so did Jessica Mooney

Jen Risper gets to the line again

Lauren Lueders hit her FTs in OT, too

Coach Collen: I'm proud of the way our kids played. I think we're a team, we're sitting here at 1-5 in the SEC, and I think when people get hold of this tape and see how well we played, and how well we played Auburn and Tennessee, I think we're gonna be a 1-5 team that nobody wants to play on a neutral floor. So we're just fighting to get to February when we've got some home games we think we can win and then looking forward to getting down to Little Rock."

Coach Balcomb joined the other coaches on her staff, as well as the television announcers and coaches around the country, in wearing an upside-down pink ribbon to honor the memory of longtime North Carolina State Coach Kay Yow, who lost her battle with breast cancer last week.

Merideth Marsh: We looked eac hother in the face and in the eye and said, "We're not losing this game", and I have complete trust in anybody who steps on the floor with us. The five that are on there are going to give it everything and do it for each other and so I think that's what we did.

Tina Wirth: I'm proud of us just because we stuck together and fought this one out. Obviously it wasn't our best game and we need to make a lot of adjustments. Bottom line, we got the win, but more than that, we need to get back to doing what we do, and we need to start doing it better and better every game, just building on it because these games , every game matters, but it's even more important that we're preparing ourselves for down the road and we can't just slip by each team and think, "Oh good, we made it". We've got to get better.

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Photos copyright 2009 by Whitney D. for

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