The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt Women’s Basketball Player Preview: A new beginning

Claire Barnett
The Vanderbilt Women’s Basketball Team sports pink in support of breast cancer awareness on Thursday, February 15, 2018. (Photo by Claire Barnett)

Vanderbilt Women’s Basketball enters a brave new world on Tuesday as head coach Stephanie White begins her third season as head coach.

There are only 10 players on the roster, but this team has some standouts that could make a huge impact this year. Here is a detailed look at this 2018-19 Commodores.

Chelsie Hall, Guard

If this Vanderbilt basketball team wants to be successful, much of the burden will fall on sophomore point guard Chelsie Hall. Hall was the team’s starting point guard last year, averaging nearly 12 points and four rebounds per game en route to earning SEC All-Freshman Honors. Early indications are that Hall is back and better than ever; in Vanderbilt’s only exhibition so far against Indianapolis, Hall scored 22 points on 70% shooting (you read that right) along with four assists and five steals. In the first half of the game, however, Hall went just 1-4 from the field and scored a mere four points. At halftime, Vanderbilt led UIndy, a Division-II program, by just five points. As a testament to just how important her success is to this team: the Commodores didn’t pull away with a serious lead until the third quarter, where Hall went off with 16 points on 6-6 shooting. This brings us back to the first point–if this team wants to be successful, Chelsie Hall needs to show-out. —Simon Gibbs, senior writer

Jordyn Cambridge, Guard

The past year has been a tough one for Jordyn Cambridge, one of the two five-star freshman on this roster, as she has had two surgeries on her right knee and was forced to miss her entire senior season. Cambridge is still in the process of rehabbing and was not available to play during the Commodores’ exhibition game, but she is expected to be back at some point of the season, and she will make an immediate impact in the backcourt. The local product averaged 14 points a game as a junior and led Nashville’s Ensworth School to a 25-4 record and a state championship where she was named MVP. Cambridge, the fourth-ranked point guard in the 2018 class, will take pressure off of Chelsie Hall and provide some depth whenever she is able to make her return to the court. —Alyssa Muir, sports reporter

Cierra Walker, Guard

On a team full of youth, Walker will be a much-needed veteran presence this season. One of just three true juniors on the team, Walker is a solid guard that could combine to create a dynamic backcourt with sophomore Chelsie Hall. She started in 17 games last season, averaging 8.7 points per game. Walker put up double-digit points in 12 different games last season, including a 20-point night against the seventh-ranked Tennessee Volunteers. She also had a career-best six three-point field goals in a game against Tennessee last season. With a stable presence down low in Mariella Fasoula, Walker could be a nice complement in the backcourt with her shooting ability. If she can bump up her scoring clip to above 10 points per game, the Commodores could have a very strong one-two punch at the guard position. —Cutler Klein, sports reporter

Brinae Alexander, Forward

Alexander is a local product, coming from Murfreesboro’s Riverdale High School. The freshman decided to stay in Nashville to play with AAU teammate Jordyn Cambridge. Alexander was a McDonald’s All-American nominee and was ranked as the 33rd-best player in her high school class by ESPNW. She averaged 16 points and six rebounds in her senior year of high school. In the exhibition against Indianapolis, she scored 21 points and started at forward. Alexander could be a candidate for the SEC All-Freshman team if she can keep draining threes. She shot 60% from three-point range in the exhibition and appears to be Vanderbilt’s main threat from behind the arc. —Betsy Goodfriend, senior writer

Bree Horrocks, Center

Horrocks, along with Mariella Fasoula, are the only true bigs on this team. Vanderbilt already has depth problems, and Horrock’s blood clots will keep her on the bench for the immediate future. It is unknown when she will return, but the team will need her for SEC play to compete with taller teams. Horrocks transferred from Purdue last year and was immediately eligible as a graduate transfer. She only averaged 1.5 points and 0.5 rebounds in limited action last year. With a much smaller bench this season, Horrocks is expected to see more meaningful playing time if and when she makes it back to the court. —Betsy Goodfriend, senior writer

Isabella Paldrmic, Guard

Vanderbilt’s going to need all the depth they can get, and Paldrmic could play a huge part in that. She’s a 5’11’’ walk-on guard, and she will likely need to play some minutes with a thin roster and with guard Jordyn Cambridge still nursing a knee injury. Paldrmic could make a difference with three-point shooting in certain scenarios. If other guards run into injury issues or foul trouble, Paldrmic could end up playing a bigger role than expected. —Cutler Klein, sports editor

Autumn Newby, Forward

Standing at 6’2’’, Newby is the third-tallest player on Vanderbilt’s roster behind centers Mariella Fasoula and Bree Horrocks. Last season, she quickly became a regular starter and had to take on a more center-like role throughout the season. Her biggest contribution last season was in rebounds, leading the team with 6.6 rebounds per game. She had six games with double-digit rebounds. Newby averaged 5.2 points per game, and with an infusion of center talent this season, she will be relied upon to add more of a scoring presence. If she can turn those double-digit rebound performances into double-doubles, the Commodores could further solidify their dominance on the blocks. —Cutler Klein, sports editor

LeaLea Carter, Guard

A McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school, junior LeaLea Carter took a step back last season, playing in only 16 games and averaging 1.4 points per game and less than one rebound per game. Two seasons ago, she was a regular part of the rotation and averaged over five points per game. 60% of this season’s roster is made up of guards, so Carter will have stiff competition if she wants to earn a starting role. Given her experience in head coach Stephanie White’s system, Carter could stand out and earn a starting spot alongside either Hall or Walker, or be the first guard off the bench moving forward. —Cutler Klein, sports editor

Mariella Fasoula, Forward

Redshirt Junior Mariella Fasoula has the potential to be a superstar on this Vanderbilt team. A regular on the Greek National team, who most recently played in the 2018 FIBA World Cup this fall, Fasoula transferred to Vanderbilt from Boston College last year. At Boston College, she averaged 16 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game in the 2016-17 season. After sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer regulations, Fasoula is ready to make her mark on this basketball program.

In the team’s first exhibition game against Indianapolis, Fasoula led the team in scoring, with 26 points, and had an unbelievable 91.7% field goal percentage. To put it plainly, Fasoula scores a lot and hardly ever misses. Fasoula’s scoring presence on the blocks will play a dynamic role on this team alongside freshman Brinae Alexander and sophomore point guard Chelsie Hall. On top of that, Fasoulas rebounding ability will allow her to work alongside Autumn Newby as a powerhouse in the paint. Fasoula’s abilities on both offense and defense make her a dynamic player that will do nothing but help this Vanderbilt team succeed. —Grace Nanney, sports reporter

Kaleigh Clemons-Green, Guard

Clemons-Green enters her third year on this Vanderbilt team as a solid player typically earning her minutes coming off the bench. Clemons-Green played in 26 games in the 2017-2018 season and averaged 3.3 points per game and 2.2 rebounds per game. As one of the few upperclassmen on this team, Clemons-Green may be able to act as a leader for the younger players on the team this year.

She will be able to act as a solid sixth man that will offer both a break for starting guards and gritty rebounding and scoring abilities. In their first exhibition game against Indianapolis, Clemons-Green notched 25 minutes of action, went 2-for-3 on field goal attempts and shot 75% from the free throw line. Clemons-Green will be able to contribute in many ways this season, acting as a dependable upperclassman presence for this Vanderbilt basketball team. —Grace Nanney, sports reporter

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Claire Barnett, Former Multimedia Director
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