VU women host ETSU

After their Christmas break the 19th ranked Vanderbilt Commodores return to action on Monday night when they host the East Tennessee State University Lady Bucs. Tip off is at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on 560 AM.

ETSU (4-4, 2-0 Atlantic Sun) is coming off a 77-72 victory over Jacksonville on Dec. 21 in Johnson City. The Lady Bucs used clutch free throw shooting to knock off their conference rival, as ETSU shot a season best 90 percent (27-30) – including eight straight in the final minute. Senior Siarre Evans, who was battling a sore knee in that game, posted her sixth straight double-double after tallying 23 points and 11 rebounds. In addition, Evans finished 10-of-10 from the free throw line to become the fourth player in Lady Buccaneer history to make at least 10 consecutive free throws in a game.

ETSU starts three forwards and two guards. Forward TaRonda Wiles leads the Lady Bucs in scoring with 19.8 points per game. Evans, a guard, averages 18.7 per contest and an impressive 11 rebounds. Guard Tara Davis (11.3 ppg) and forward Gwen Washington (10.3 ppg) are ETSU's other top scorers. Tosha Austin, a forward, is the fifth starter and while she contributes just 3 points per game, she is impressive on the boards, pulling down 7.4 a game.

The Lady Bucs also have wins over Chattanooga, Hawaii, and North Florida. The games ETSU has lost have come against quality competition. The Lady Bucs have fallen on the road to Mississippi State (80-30), Arkansas (95-78) and Appalachian State (92-87). ETSU also faced Arizona State in Hawaii and fell to the Sun Devils, 80-67.

Vanderbilt has won three straight since being shocked by Bowling Green on December 4. The Commodores are led in scoring by Merideth Marsh (14.1 ppg), Hannah Tuomi (12.5 ppg), and Jence Rhoads (12.0 ppg).

After the win over TSU on December 20th, Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb expressed concern about the then upcoming Christmas break, "We have been working hard, but the timing of this break is hard because I really liked the practice time we had and we got better every day. You saw that and now we have to let them go home and eat cookies and lay around. We have two practices after break and then we play ETSU; two more practices and then Notre Dame; two more practices and then Ole Miss. We'll be fine, but it's hard to recover, so we just need to look forward."

Vanderbilt is ranked 19th in the AP poll and 16th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll with the new rankings expected to come out later on Monday. ETSU is ranked 190th according to RealTimeRPI.com and 150th in the Sagarin ratings.

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