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 opens season with 98-51 blowout win over Kennesaw State

The Commodores tied for their highest-scoring half ever in a dominant win over the Owls.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Vanderbilt’s bench celebrating during the first half against Kennesaw State on Nov. 6, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics)

The Vanderbilt Commodores won their first game of 2023-24 Monday, Nov. 6, in a 98-51 blowout over the Kennesaw State Owls. Vanderbilt out-rebounded the Owls and played an energetic full-court press on defense throughout the first half to put the game out of reach. For “Education Day,” the game started at 11 a.m. CST in front of a crowd mostly of elementary and middle school students.

“It was an awesome environment with Education Day and I’m really proud of my team for how we started the year,” head coach Shea Ralph said in her postgame press conference. “Obviously, there’s growth that we can have and we will have as we look at the tape from this from this game, but really proud of how we came out.”

In the first half, the Commodores tied their all-time, single-half scoring record with 66 points. The only other time Vanderbilt scored 66 in a half came on Nov. 26, 2010 against Quinnipiac. The Commodores slowed down in the second half but still cruised to victory with the second unit in.

Several Vanderbilt players had dominant performances. Jordyn Cambridge had 4 steals in the first half and 11 points in her first game back after missing the entirety of last season with an injury.

“It was definitely a hard mental battle but I have my teammates and my coaches and our great medical staff helping me through it,” Cambridge said of her return. “And it just feels great to be back. I feel like my normal self and I’m just really excited for the rest of the season.”

Sacha Washington crushed the Owls down low for 16 points and 6 rebounds, including a pair of offensive rebounds. Five Commodores finished the day with double-digit points.

Vanderbilt also saw promising performances from several debutants including transfers Jordyn Oliver and Justine Pissott, as well as freshmen Aga Makurat and Khamil Pierre.

“They brought energy; they were sparks in every way,” Ralph said of the freshmen. “I know they’re going to make mistakes, but I want them to be aggressive and I want them to play really hard and compete. And I saw that from them today. And that’s really promising.”

Vanderbilt came out of the gates flying. Kennesaw State was overwhelmed by Vanderbilt’s defense in both the backcourt and the frontcourt, turning the ball over nine times in the first quarter. The Commodores were also superior on the glass, grabbing four offensive rebounds in the quarter. Those gaps combined with early three’s from Iyana Moore and Makurat put Vanderbilt up 31-8 after the first quarter.

The second quarter was more of the same. Vanderbilt simply outplayed the Owls ― taking away passes, finding open players on the perimeter and dominating in the paint on both ends. In the first half, Vanderbilt had 28 points in the paint, forced 12 turnovers and had 17 fast-break points. Ralph rotated in 10 players, leading to 22 bench points for the Commodores as well.

The second half saw a slowdown for Vanderbilt without the full-court press and with the second unit on the floor for most of the last two quarters. Still, the Commodores reached a formidable 98-point total. Every one of Vanderbilt’s 13 players on its roster played except for freshman Bailey Gilmore, who Ralph said is out indefinitely.

Vanderbilt will return to action on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 5:30 p.m. CST at UT-Martin.

Leave a comment
About the Contributor
Frankie Sheehy
Frankie Sheehy, Former Deputy Sports Editor
Frankie Sheehy ('24) wrote for The Hustler Sports section and graduated from the College of Arts and Science with majors in economics and law, history and society. He was also the president of the Vanderbilt Chess Club and a superfan of the Chicago White Sox. You can reach him at [email protected].
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
All The Vanderbilt Hustler picks Reader picks Sort: Newest
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments