VU Women Defeat Western Carolina 73-44

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Led by 23 points from Tina Wirth, Vanderbilt defeated the Western Carolina Lady Catamounts 73-44 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Jen Risper also scored in double figures with 11 points and led the team in rebounding with nine boards.

In the first few minutes of the game, both teams showed the effects of the long layoff since their conference tournaments two weeks ago. Neither team scored in the first three minutes of the game, and both teams missed their first six shots from the floor. A layup by Tina Wirth finally broke the drought for Vanderbilt, and a 3-pointer by Emily Clarke put Western Carolina on the scoreboard.

After the first media timeout, Vanderbilt began to hit more shots, but several 3-pointers by Western Carolina kept the Lady Catamounts close. With 6:31 left in the first half, Vanderbilt held a narrow 18-16 lead.

But that was as close as Western Carolina would get. The aggressive Vanderbilt defense held the Lady Cats to just two more points in the rest of the half. In the meantime, fastbreak layups by Jen Risper, Jessica Mooney, and Chanel Chisholm put the Dores up by eight points at 26-18. Then a 3-pointer by Lauren Lueders gave Vanderbilt a double-digit lead at 29-18 going into the locker room.

After halftime, Western Carolina cut the lead back to single digits on a layup by Brooke Johnson on their first possession. But Vanderbilt quickly countered and built the lead up to 19 points at 41-22 before a quick 7-0 run by the Lady Catamonts cut the lead to 12 points, prompting Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb to call a timeout.

The timeout had the desired effect for the Dores, who immeditately went on a 12-2 run to take a 22-point lead with 9:31 left in the game. After that, Western Carolina never got closer than 20 points, with the lead reaching as much as 31 points in the final minute.

With the victory, Vanderbilt advances to the second round with a Monday night game against Kansas State, who defeated Drexel 68-44 in the nightcap.

The Pit's famous ramp entrance to the court

Jence Rhoads


Jen Risper

Jessica Mooney

Lauren Lueders

Tina Wirth

Tia Gibbs

Western Carolina Coach Kellie Harper

Coach Harper's ramp shoes

Tia Gibbs



Jessica Mooney

Amy Malo

Tina Wirth and Jen Risper

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Photos copyright 2009 by Whitney D for

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