LSU defense stops 'Dores 55-39 in upset

LSU's No. 23 Lady Tigers (18-7, 7-6) thumped No. 20 Vanderbilt 55-39 in Baton Rouge to hand the ‘Dores their worst loss of the year and avenge last season's 47-61 SEC tourney loss to Vanderbilt. Vandy falls to 18-8, 7-6 and enters a 3-way jam in SEC standings with Georgia and LSU.

It was the fourth road loss for Vandy after winning the previous three against Auburn, Arkansas and Florida.

The previous scoring low came against Kentucky on January 10 in another road game when Vandy fell 53-63. The Commodores are now 3-4 away from home.

Vanderbilt trailed the entire game but came within one point on two occasions. LSU led 27-24 at the half. Even the pink uniforms Vandy wore for LSU's Pink Out event did not generate enough sparkle to energize offense against the Lady Tigers' defense which forced 20 turnovers. Vanderbilt shot 37% for the game and was outscored 18-6 during the as the clock ticked toward the final 11:26. Vandy scored 15 points in the second half.

Three Commodores hit double digits as Jence Rhoads led with 12 and 8 boards, Hannah Tuomi with 11 and Merideth Marsh with 10 points. Merideth and Lauren Lueders sank the team's only pair of threes early in the second half as the ‘Dores went 2 of 12 from beyond the arc.

Following the game, Vandy Head Coach Melanie Balcomb said, "We didn't execute well enough to make good shots. We had a lot of chances. We got stops but they stepped up their defenses and we didn't handle the pressure. We didn't set things up. LSU did a great job defensively."

Katherine Graham scored 15 and Allison Hightower had 13 to lead the Lady Tigers.

Three games remain before the March 4-6 SEC Tournament in Duluth, Georgia with the final road match Sunday at 1 p.m. CST with Mississippi. The ‘Dores' next home game is Wednesday, February 24 with Florida, and the Senior Day final game comes against South Carolina on Sunday, February 28.

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