Vanderbilt annihilates Tarleton State 84-48 in impressive showing, start 4-0 for first time since 2014

Vanderbilt utilized a strong inside-out game and pesky defense to propel past Tarleton State on Tuesday.

Vanderbilt+guard+Marnelle+Garraud+scans+the+floor+against+Tarleton+State+on+Nov.+15%2C+2022+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FJosh+Rehders%29.

Josh Rehders

Vanderbilt guard Marnelle Garraud scans the floor against Tarleton State on Nov. 15, 2022 (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders).

Bryce Smith, Sports Editor

Just two days after arriving back from the Big Apple following a comeback win over Columbia, Vanderbilt (4-0) picked up where they left off. The Commodores dominated Tarleton State from the jump, defeating the Texans 84-48 on Education Day at Memorial Gym. It’s Vanderbilt’s first 4-0 start since the 2014-15 season.

Shea Ralph rolled out a starting lineup of Jada Brown, Yaubryon Chambers, Ciaja Harbison, Marnelle Garraud and Sacha Washington for the 11 A.M. C.S.T. tip-off. Washington got the offense moving, scoring each of the Commodore’s first seven points. The Commodores jumped out to a 9-0 lead before Tarleton State could get on the board. Ralph, though, was not pleased with the start after her team’s slow jump in their last game against Columbia.

“I was not happy with how we started the game today, similar to how we started at Columbia,” Ralph said afterwards. “As we move forward, that’s not the winning edge. One of the things we talked about in shoot around was that we act like winners. It never matters who the opponent is. We have to start better; we play basketball to a certain standard here at Vanderbilt.”

Defensive peskiness would be a reoccurring theme of the first half as Vanderbilt held the Titans to just 23.8% (5-23) shooting in the opening two quarters. The Texans turned it over seven times in the first half, leading to 18 Commodore points.

On the offensive end, the Commodores’ superior post play gave Tarleton State fits in the each of the first two quarters. Freshmen Amauri Williams and Ryanne Allen rotated with Washington and the three combined for 22 of Vanderbilt’s 33 first half points.

“I mean, obviously we’re bigger than them,” Ralph said. “And we have to take advantage of that size difference when we do have it because we won’t always so we have to be really smart about how we looked at score. They were still playing a switching man and they had their little guards on our post players. That’s an opportunity for us to get easy buckets or fouls or both”

Allen rejuvenated the Commodore offense in the second frame, scoring ten points during a 17-4 Vanderbilt run that broke the game open. Allen hit back-to-back threes, a tough fadeaway jumper and a crafty layup. The Commodores took a 33-18 lead into break.

Vanderbilt continued to push their lead after the halftime break. The Commodores outscored the Texans 30-20 in the third quarter, forcing five turnovers. Washington, Allen and Williams continued to enforce their will down low, leading to 14 points in the paint for the Commodores. Graduate transfer Marnelle Garraud added eight points in the frame, including a pair of 3-pointers.

Eight Commodores scored in the 30-point third quarter outburst, the most points Vanderbilt has scored in a single quarter this season.

Garraud continued to put pressure on the Texans to open the fourth quarter, nailing another 3-pointer to open the scoring. She finished with 16 points on the day to lead Vanderbilt in scoring. Her hot outside shooting opened up the interior for Williams, who put in two second-chance layups to extend the Commodore advantage to 74-40.

Veteran Demi Washington got in on the scoring as well, posting four of her eight points in the final quarter. The Commodore defense shut down the Texans in the fourth quarter, allowing just 10 points. Vanderbilt outscored Tarleton State 21-10 in the final frame, making it a 51-30 advantage in the second half.

“I would say we’ve been solid in terms of the things that I’ve asked him to do,” Ralph added on the veterans. “Again, I’d like our effort to be more consistent, but our veterans have played hard for the most part. But at the end of the day, we need contributions from everyone. So whoever steps up, I’m happy [whether it is a] veteran, young guy, it doesn’t really matter how old you are. But right now you know the guys that have been here for the for the last year and a half, they understand my expectations. I think they’ve done a pretty good job”

Vanderbilt will host Austin Peay on Thursday, November 17 at 6:30 P.M. C.S.T. at Memorial Gymnasium.