Vanderbilt defeats Ole Miss 80-68


Cathy Buck

Vanderbilt takes on Texas A&M on January 10, 2019. Photo by Mattigan Kelly

Drew Perez

Coming off a two-point heartbreaking loss to Auburn, the Vanderbilt women’s basketball team defeated the Ole Miss Rebels by a score of 80 to 68 on Thursday night. It was their first SEC win of the season.

Junior guard Lealea Carter led the Commodores with 20 points and also recorded two steals, two assists, and two rebounds in 36 minutes played.

Carter attributed the team’s success to the availability of players and help from the bench. Earlier in the season, the Commodores had as few as six healthy players at one time which had a profuse impact on the starters.

“Every player that’s been out plays a big factor in our team. They contribute a lot and having an extra body feels good,” Carter said. “Playing with five or six people is very tough… [having more players] helps us and it helps them.”

After missing 7 of their first 9 field goal attempts, the Dores turned to Carter, who scored 10 of their 14 first-quarter points, including three mid-range jumpers. Once the Dores took the lead with 6:31 remaining in the second quarter, they didn’t look back, keeping that lead for the rest of the game.

“Nobody likes to lose, but losing teaches you a lot of life lessons. It got to the point where there were several people with their heads down,” Carter continued. “I think [this win] is a booster.”

Like the Auburn game, the Commodores held a decent lead at halftime. Their largest lead of the first half came after an Autumn Newby three-pointer to put them up 32-21 with three minutes remaining in the second quarter.

“I think we were a little more active defensively. I think we finally got more aggressive offensively,” said coach Stephanie White. “We did a very good job of executing the game plan for most of the game against a team that’s hot.”

This time, however, the Commodores pushed all the way through. They held Ole Miss to 41.7% shooting from the floor and forced 17 turnovers overall. The Commodores also scored an impressive 24 points off turnovers.

One of the signature moments of the matchup came when Jordyn Cambridge provided a nice assist to Mariella Fasoula for an easy lay-in, capping off a 7-0 run by the Commodores with 1:38 remaining in the third quarter.

The Dores’ first conference win comes before a difficult two-game road trip during which they will face two nationally ranked teams in South Carolina and Texas A&M.

“It’s a tough road trip. But this whole league is tough, and every night is a battle,” coach White maintained. “We can’t worry about an opponent, we can’t worry about a scoreboard, we have to keep getting better, we have to keep competing, and we have to keep trying to minimize our lulls.”

The Commodores improve to 6-13 overall and 1-5 in SEC play. They travel to play South Carolina in another conference matchup on Monday, January 28.