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.

Commodores struggle from deep, fall at home to Missouri

Missouri outscored the Commodores by 21 from the three-point line.
Truman McDaniel
Jordyn Cambridge (3) pushes the ball up the court as Mariella Fasoula (34) runs ahead.

Three days after being demolished 95-41 by the top-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks, the Commodores struggled to match the hot shooting of the Missouri Tigers and ultimately fell 78-66. 

The Tigers came into the game with just six wins all season, but the Commodores were in catch-up mode practically all game, and they could not get enough stops down the stretch to recover.

The Commodores got off to a sloppy start, turning the ball over four times in under five minutes of play. Missouri led 7-5 at the 5:41 mark of the first quarter when starting point guard Chelsie Hall was called for a push-off on her transition lay-up attempt, her second foul of the game. Hall headed to the Vanderbilt bench and, just under six minutes later, a three-pointer from Missouri guard Jordan Chavis was capping off a 14-8 Tiger run to end the quarter. The Commodores, who found themselves down 21-13, turned the ball over seven times in the first quarter, four of which were on the offensive end. 

The second quarter began as seemingly a continuation of the first, with a Commodore committing an offensive foul. This time it was Koi Love barreling into a Missouri defender for a charge, her second of the game. Love headed to the bench with the pair of fouls 33 seconds into the quarter, and Missouri opened up a 24-15 lead with all the momentum on their side.

As they have done for much of the season, however, the Commodores scrapped their way back into the game. They promptly went on a 10-0 run, aided by two buckets apiece from Hall and Mariella Fasoula, to take a one point lead. 

The teams traded baskets for the remaining 5:24 of the half, but two free throws from Fasoula with 29 seconds remaining gave the Commodores a 33-31 lead heading into the locker room. Fasoula and Hall both had eight points at the half, as did Chavis for the Tigers. 

The Tigers pounced on Vanderbilt miscues and came out of the gates firing to start the second half. 

On the first possession, Jordyn Cambridge turned it over trying to find Koi Love in the lane, and Missouri’s Jordan Roundtree put back Aijha Blackwell’s missed transition lay-up. Amber Smith and Blackwell combined for another nine quick Tiger points, and, all of a sudden, Missouri had a 42-37 lead. 

Seeking an energy jolt after trading baskets for a couple minutes, Stephanie White turned to a full-court press during the last few minutes of the quarter, and it paid off in a big way. Cambridge hounded the opposing guards as they attempted to get it across half court, and Missouri turned it over on four consecutive possessions. The Tiger turnovers combined with four points apiece from Cambridge and Love turned a four point deficit into a one-basket lead for Vanderbilt. 

“Jordyn [Cambridge] really was the one who got her hands on all the balls and really got us creating some offense from defense,” White said. “I thought she took her defensive intensity to another level.”

The Commodores were up 52-50 after two Autumn Newby free throws with 0.6 seconds left in the quarter when Love made the critical mistake of fouling Tiger guard Amber Smith 90 feet away from the basket. Love picked up her fourth foul, and, with the Tigers being in the bonus, Smith was awarded a one-and-one opportunity. She sank both free throws to tie the game at 52 heading into the final 10 minutes of action. 

“It wasn’t a smart play,” White said. “It puts [Love] on her heels playing with four fouls, it gives them a little bit of momentum headed into the fourth quarter and it takes a little bit of momentum away from you when we had done a really good job at the end of the third quarter.”

Fasoula converted a three-point play to kickstart the fourth quarter, but forward Haley Frank responded for the Tigers with back-to-back three pointers, forcing White to call a quick timeout. 

Out of the timeout, Fasoula scored in the post, but Frank, who finished with a game-high 24 points, answered again with a driving lay-up. Blackwell then scored a basket plus the foul to push the Tigers ahead 63-57. 

The Tigers had increased their lead to 69-59 at the 3:22 mark when Hall hit a three-pointer, the first made deep-ball of the night from the Commodores, to cut the lead to seven. The Tigers pushed the lead right back to nine, however, off two makes at the charity stripe by Jordan Chavis.

Vanderbilt never put any real pressure on Missouri for the rest of the game and ultimately fell 78-66.

A major story of the game was the three-point line where the Commodores shot just 1-10 compared to the eight long-distance makes for the Tigers.

“They had eight threes; that’s huge,” White said. “But we know that’s what they do. That’s not our strength, but the way they play defense, they force you to take jump shots, and we got to be able to make jump shots.”

The Commodores return to action on Sunday, Feb. 23, when they travel to Knoxville to face their in-state rival, the Tennessee Volunteers.


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About the Contributors
Alyssa Muir
Alyssa Muir, Former Deputy Sports Editor
Alyssa Muir ('21) was Deputy Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. She majored in economics with minors in business and sociology. When she has free time, she can usually be found binge-watching Grey's Anatomy or rooting on her hometown teams, the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning. For tips and comments, feel free to reach out to: [email protected].    
Truman McDaniel
Truman McDaniel, Former Multimedia Sports Specialist
Truman McDaniel (2023) is a student in the College of Arts & Science majoring in Environmental and Ecological Biology and Political Science. In his free time, he enjoys taking pictures, drinking coffee and watching movies. He can be reached at [email protected].    
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