Women's Hoops: Selection Show party

On Sunday afternoon, the Commodore Crew hosted a Selection Show Party and opened the doors of Memorial Gym to the public.

Here are some of VandyMania's photos from the event.

Vicki Spina, Administrative Assistant for Women's Basketball, greeted fans at the door. For the past two years, the Commodores have played at home in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. This year the first two rounds of the women's tournament are being held on pre-determined sites. Since Vanderbilt is not a host, Vicki has known for months that the Commodores will be hitting the road. The host school and the NCAA will have already done much of the ground work with local arrangements, but once the brackets are announced, Vicki takes care of the logistic on this end.

Before the Selection Show, the Commodore Crew hosted a bar-b-que luncheon for the Crew members, the team, staff, and media in the Donor Room on the second floor of Memorial Gym. While folks were eating, fans mingled with each other, the staff and the players. This fan got her first opportunity to chat with Coach Melanie Balcomb.

Assistant Coaches Vicky Picott and Kristin Schneider were chatting with a fan when VandyMania snapped this photo. The assistants were all prepared for a long night. Once opponents were announced, they'd be able to start breaking down game tape in preparation for the tournament.

All through the year, the staff tapes games on TV for future use. But there is also a service that provides game film, and the additional tapes will arrive on Monday. With two new opponents, the assistant coaches have a lot of work to do in a short period of time. This photo shows the lull before the storm.

Jenni Benningfield and Hillary Hager share a laugh, while a young fan looks on.

Assistant Coach Stephanie Norman's son Parker slowed down long enough to pose with mom and dad Geoff.

Tia Battle, Venessa Ferragamo, and Jutta Korkko graciously agreed to pose for a photograph . . .

. . . and so did Ashley McElhiney and Jenni Benningfield --and their young friends . . .

. . . and Ashley Earley, Erica Grimaldi, and Chantelle Anderson did, too.

Coach Balcomb spoke to the Crew members, then invited everyone down to the party downstairs.

The Crew had rented a huge television screen for the occasion. The team and coaches sat on press row, with fans filling the bleacher seats behind them. While the fans downstairs were waiting for the Selection Show to begin, they were entertained by the highlight video shown on Senior Day.

When the ESPN showed the locations of the pre-determined sites around the country, VandyMania snapped a photo, which proved to be prophetic. When the East bracket was announced later in the program, Norfolk turned out to be the Commodores' destination.

Vandy was assigned the #4 seed in the East Regional. #1 seed UConn, #2 seed Purdue, and #3 seed Kansas State play the first two rounds at home, while the Commodores join #5 seed Boston College, #13 seed Liberty at the subregional hosted by #12 seed Old Dominion.

Liberty University, Vandy's first round opponent, ended the season at 26-3. Their leading scorer is 6'8 center Katie Feenstra. The only common opponent that Liberty and Vandy have both played is Alabama. The Crimson Tide beat the Lady Flames 67-64 on a neutral court way back in December, while the Commodores won their game 80-69 in Memorial Gym.

After losing in December to Richmond and Virginia Tech, Liberty rolled through the Big South finishing 14-0 in the regular season and winning the tournament. This week the Lady Flames made their first ever appearance in a Top 25 ranking, checking in at#25 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.

As the Selection Show continued, the local media began their interviews to the side. Here Jenni Benningfield talks to the television reporters.

Tammy Boclair paused for a moment between arranging media interviews to pose with trainer Kris Mack and team physician Andrew Gregory.

Chancellor Gordon Gee wearing his trademark bowtie attended the event and as the press interviews continued, he chatted with Coach Balcomb on the sidelines.

As the fans headed off, the staff was already preparing for the upcoming trip to Norfolk. The Vanderbilt/Liberty game will be one of the first games of the tournament, tipping off Saturday afternoon in the Constant Convocation Center. Exact time will be announced on Monday.

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