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Five takeaways from Vanderbilt Women’s Basketball’s exhibition win

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Five takeaways from Vanderbilt Women’s Basketball’s exhibition win

Photo by Hunter Long

Photo by Hunter Long

Hunter Long

Photo by Hunter Long

Hunter Long

Hunter Long

Photo by Hunter Long

Betsy Goodfriend, Senior Writer

Vanderbilt defeated the University of Indianapolis 90-60 in a preseason exhibition. The Commodores only led by five at the half, but sophomore guard Chelsie Hall led the team to a 30-point third quarter.

Vanderbilt scored 54 of its points in the paint and scored 21 points off of turnovers.

Head Coach Stephanie White said, “I think when we have an advantage in size, we want to make sure that we do [dominate the paint]. We knew we had a size advantage against Indianapolis, and we wanted to make sure we play to our strengths.”

Here’s five takeaways from the game:

Mariella Fasoula is even better than advertised

Fasoula is eligible as a redshirt junior after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. During her sophomore season at Boston College, the Athens, Greece native averaged 16 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

She was recently named to the Lisa Leslie Award watch list. The award is given to the nation’s best center, and Fasoula fits the bill.

It’s hard not to compare her to fellow Greek national team member and NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo. Both wear the same number and both have similar styles of play. Fasoula dominates in the paint, and uses her long arms to snatch defensive rebounds.

Against Indianapolis, she was 11-12 from the field and collected 11 rebounds, nine of which were defensive rebounds. Her 26 points led the team.

“She’s a dominant presence inside and really the first true post presence since I’ve been here,” White said.

Small-ball lineup will have trouble in the SEC

Mariella Fasoula may seem superhuman, but even she needs a couple minutes of rest every once in awhile. With center Bree Horrocks out with blood clots, Vanderbilt has to resort to a smaller lineup when Fasoula is on the bench.

In the first quarter, Kaleigh Clemons-Green, a guard, came in for Fasoula, leaving Vandy with three guards and two forwards on the court. 6’2” Autumn Newby was the tallest player on the court for the Commodores by four inches.

Vanderbilt missed layup after layup in the minutes that Fasoula sat on the bench. As soon as she returned to the game, she scored a bucket in the paint.

Freshman Brinae Alexander, who scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds, commented on the adjustments she has to make in the small-ball rotation.

“I’ll usually have a bigger defender on me if I’m the four,” Alexander said. “If I have a guard on me, then I can go ahead and post up. So it depends on what my matchup is.”

Chelsie Hall is more vocal

Hall was named the SEC All-Freshman team last season after averaging just under 12 points per game.

She scored 22 points this afternoon, with 13 points coming in the third quarter. Hall has comfortably taken over the feisty leadership role of Rachel Bell, who graduated last year. She had five steals in the game and drew a few fouls on her powerful drives to the basket.

“When Chelsie gets hype, and she gets vocal, it’s really really good for our team,” White said. “She brings energy.”

Vanderbilt needs to improve its three-point defense

Indianapolis shot over 50% from three-point range in the exhibition. The Greyhounds moved the ball around on the perimeter with ease.

White addressed the weakness and emphasized how important limiting the three-point shot will be once the season kicks off.  

“Indianapolis is a unique team that plays five around the perimeter, but we’re going to have to be able to adjust, and we’re going to have to be able to defend a lot of different looks,” White said.

This team shouldn’t be overlooked

While the women’s basketball team has not gotten as much preseason hype as the men’s team, they’re still a team worth watching. Men’s basketball freshmen Simi Shittu and Aaron Nesmith were in attendance at the exhibition, and more students should follow their lead.

White gave a message to students who may not know much about the women’s team.

“Come and check us out,” she said. “We’re a lot of fun to watch. More than anything, I think it’s just Vanderbilt spirit, being a part of something bigger than ourselves. I think we do a great job of that in the classroom and in the community, and now we want that to filter over into athletics as well.”

Both teams play their regular season openers on Tuesday, November 6th in Memorial Gym. The women’s squad has tip-off scheduled for 6 PM against North Alabama. Half an hour after their game ends, the men play Winthrop.

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About the Contributors
Betsy Goodfriend, Senior Writer

Betsy Goodfriend ('21) is a senior writer for the sports section of the Vanderbilt Hustler. She is double majoring in Economics and Human and Organizational...

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