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 loses to UT Martin 66-54, drops second in a row

During a Sunday morning affair at Memorial Gymnasium, turnovers and an inability to get in a rhythm plagued the Commodores en route to a double-digit loss to UT Martin.
Marnelle+Garraud+drives+to+the+rim+against+UT+Martin+on+December+4%2C+2022+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FYifei+Lu%29
Ophelia Lu
Marnelle Garraud drives to the rim against UT Martin on December 4, 2022 (Hustler Multimedia/Yifei Lu)

After losing four of their last five games, the Commodores (6-4) looked to regain their early season momentum against UT Martin (2-5) on Sunday morning at Memorial. In the team’s 66-54 loss to the Skyhawks, both teams were dealing with significant injuries, as Vanderbilt’s top scorer (Ciaja Harbison) and the Skyhawks’ top scorer (Kenley McCarn) did not suit up.

Vanderbilt got the scoring started with an early three from Jada Brown. After committing a few turnovers and surrendering three-pointers to Paige Pipkin and Shae Littleford, the Commodores trailed 6-3. The barrage of shots from downtown continued in the early minutes, as Ryanne Allen evened things at six with a deep splash of her own. 

After no field goals for nearly six minutes, Sacha Washington made a free throw to complete a three-point play, giving the Commodores a 9-8 advantage. That would be Vanderbilt’s only score in the last six and a half minutes of first-quarter action, and they would head into the second quarter trailing by two. The Commodores were their own worst enemy in the first quarter time and time again, as they committed a jaw-dropping 12 turnovers. While UT Martin didn’t turn the ball over nearly as much as the Commodores, the team hampered itself in the quarter by shooting only 23% from the field. 

Marnelle Garraud got things going for the Commodores in the second quarter with a three-pointer of her own. However, the Skyhawks came out firing, nailing 4 of their first 5 field goal attempts–including three threes–and jumped out to a 21-12 lead over Vanderbilt. Garraud ended another significant scoring drought for Vanderbilt with her second three of the quarter. Trailing 26-20, Yaubryon Chambers had a ferocious block on Pipkin, energizing the early-morning Memorial crowd.

At the break, UT Martin led Vanderbilt 28-20. It truly was a half dictated by shots from behind the arc, as the teams drained an impressive 11 threes and collectively shot a stellar 48% from downtown. However, turnovers remained the story in the first half for the Commodores, amassing 19 by the time they trotted into the locker room. The Skyhawks certainly made the most of these errors by Vanderbilt, recording 19 points off those aforementioned turnovers. After not scoring in the first quarter, Garraud paced the Commodores at the half with eight points in the second.

“Obviously, you can’t win a game when you turn the ball over 19 times in the first half. You can’t do that,” head coach Shea Ralph said. “People were trying to do way too much. You cannot make up a 10-point deficit in one possession.”

After falling behind by 12 early in the third quarter, Garraud again got the scoring started for the Commodores. The Jayhawks continued their efficiency from the field that they found in the second quarter, beginning the second half by hitting 4 of their 6 shots and building a commanding 37-22 lead over Vanderbilt.

It was a long 3 minutes and 43 seconds before Vanderbilt managed to light up the scoreboard again, this time in the form of an Amauri Williams layup. Another layup by Washington still, unfortunately, didn’t mask how the Commodores had connected on 2 of their last 8 field goals and trailed by 17 as time dwindled in the third.

UT Martin followed up its 50% shooting from the field in the second with an ultra-efficient 53.3% in the third. Vanderbilt managed to hit only 31.3% of its attempts in the third quarter and trailed the Skyhawks 49-31 as the buzzer sounded.

The final quarter of action began with more of the same, as UT Martin’s quick passing, ability to force turnovers and seeming inability to miss from the field aided the team in maintaining its significant lead. Vanderbilt found a way to widely improve its turnover issues in the second half, coughing the ball up five times–nearly a quarter of its first-half turnover total. This performance was not nearly enough to make things close, with the Skyhawks shooting a stunning 57.1% from the field in the closing quarter and topping the Commodores by a final score of 66-54.

Garraud paced the Commodores’ scoring effort, dropping 19. Pipkin led the Skyhawks, recording 19 points on 8 of 13 from the field. UT Martin was also notably lifted by the performance of its starters, as only 3 of its 66 points came from its bench.

“We need to make plays when the game is on the line,” Ralph said. “We’re not feeling like we’re giving it our all.”

With the loss, Vanderbilt has now dropped five of its last six matchups. Harbison’s return cannot come soon enough for the Commodores, and they will hope to have her back in the lineup when they take on Louisiana Tech on Dec. 8.

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About the Contributors
Jonah Barbin, Senior Staff Writer
Jonah Barbin (‘25) is majoring in human and organizational development and cinema and media studies. In addition to writing about sports, you can catch him acting, scouring the fantasy football waiver wire, playing golf and fantasizing about what Odell Beckham Jr.’s career would have been if the Giants never traded him. You can reach him at [email protected].
Ophelia Lu, Deputy Photography Director
Ophelia Lu (’26) is from Los Angeles and is double majoring in biomedical and electrical engineering in the School of Engineering. She previously served as a staff photographer. When not covering events and sports games for The Hustler, you can find her listening to a lot of music, studying at Starbucks or lying on Alumni lawn. She can be reached at [email protected].
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