VU WBB: Vanderbilt 96, Appalachian State 53

Vanderbilt opened the 2013-2014 season with a resounding 96-53 victory over the Appalachian State Mountaineers Friday night in Memorial Gym. Five Dores scored in double figures led by freshman guard Rebekah Dahlman with 23 points. Sophomore point guard Jasmine Jenkins added 19, and freshman post Marqu'es Webb scored 13.

Vanderbilt's highly regarded freshman class made their official debut on Friday as Vanderbilt hosted the Appalachian State Mountaineers in the season opener.

Two of those freshmen, guard Rebekah Dahlman and post Marqu'es Webb, were in the starting lineup along with senior guards Christina Foggie and Jasmine Lister and sophomore post Heather Bowe.

The senior guards put their mark on the season immediately, as Foggie knocked down her first 3-pointer of the season on an assist from Lister less than one minute after tip-off.

Vanderbilt never trailed after that, but for first ten minutes of the game, Appalachian State kept it close. Each time the Dores threatened to build on their slim lead, the Mountaineers had an answer.

But midway through the first half, that changed. With the score 15-12 with 13:50 left in the half, a 7-0 Vanderbilt run capped by a 3-pointer by Lister gave Vanderbilt a 10-point lead. By the end of the first half, the Dores had blown the game open with a 51-26 lead going into intermission.

The lop-sided game provided the opportunity for extended playing time for the team's reserve players. Foggie played only six minutes in the second half, and Lister played only five minutes. Sophomore Jasmine Jenkins took over point guard duties and responded with a career high 19 points along with six assists, two steals and only two turnovers in 24 minutes.

But an even more striking performance in the game came from Dahlman. In the exhibition game last weekend, she scored 21 points, including 12 points from the free throw line. She followed that performance in her first official game at Vanderbilt with 24 points, including 6-for-7 from 3-point range.

"I tell everybody what a great defender she is and her engine and her energy and that I brought her here for her defense," said Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb after the game.

"But let's be real. She scored more points in Minnesota than any girl in high school in their history, and she just knows how to score and she'll keep scoring if you let her. And they let her keep shooting."

According to Coach Balcomb, the difference in how she scored her points in the two games came from the difference in the defenses by UNA in the exhibition game and by ASU in the season opener Friday night.

"We played against a lot of man last game and they're going to mark you up, so she put the ball on the floor and got to the free throw line and took 15-17 free throws because they couldn't guard her off the dribble," said Coach Balcomb.

"Tonight they sagged. They know [Lister] and Foggie can shoot it, and she's a new freshmen, so she took 3s. Again, the kid can just flat out score. She's not a shooter, she's a scorer so she's going to take what they're going to give her, and it looked different tonight, but she has the ability to do both."

Next action for the Commodores will come on Monday night when they host the Western Kentucky Lady Hilltoppers. Game time in 7 p.m. In a special promotion to honor Veterans Day, Vanderbilt is offering all active and retired members of the armed services free tickets to the game. Interested active and retired military personnel should email to secure their tickets.

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