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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 set to host No. 13 LSU

Vanderbilt will attempt to break its four-game losing streak on Thursday when it faces off against No. 13 LSU.
Josh Rehders
Jordyn Oliver dribbles the ball passed mid-court, as photographed on Feb. 2, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders)

On Monday night, Vanderbilt suffered its fourth straight loss at the hands of the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Commodores suffered a fourth quarter collapse, in which they were outscored 28-14 in the final 10 minutes. Vanderbilt couldn’t stop Alabama on the defensive end and struggled to find any offensive rhythm in the second half. 

The Commodores will have an opportunity to earn a signature win on Thursday night when they host the No. 13 LSU Tigers. The Tigers have the No. 1 scoring offense in the SEC, scoring a noteworthy 90.5 points per game. The defending National Champions have a plethora of scoring options with six players averaging double-digit points per game.  

The Tigers currently hold a 19-4 (6-3) record, which includes losses against No. 1 South Carolina and No. 4 Colorado, respectively. Their conference record puts them in a tie for third in the SEC. On Sunday, LSU beat Florida by 40 points, thanks to 21 points from Hailey Van Lith. 

LSU is led by forward Angel Reese. In preseason, Reese was voted to be the SEC Women’s Player of the Year, and she has lived up to the hype. She is averaging 19.3 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. She does almost all of her damage in the paint, using her larger frame and speed to beat opposing forwards. Reese will be a matchup nightmare for Sacha Washington and Khamil Pierre, who both stand at 6’2”. Vanderbilt will need to double-team her in the paint. While this may create open looks for LSU on the perimeter, the Commodores will have to close out efficiently and hope the Tigers miss from beyond the arc. LSU ranks sixth in the SEC in 3-point percentage but second in overall field goal percentage, so Shea Ralph might want to force the Tigers to shoot from the outside. 

Van Lith is the primary point guard for LSU, leading the team with 4.2 assists per game. While she is a fantastic facilitator, she also can score at all levels, averaging 11.8 points per game and shooting 35.5% from deep. Jordyn Cambridge and Van Lith will be a matchup to watch all night. These two talented guards will be battling it out to see who can find offensive rhythm and create open looks for players. 

Aneesah Morrow and Mikayla Williams are the primary threats on the wing for the Tigers, averaging 17.9 and 16.2 points per game, respectively. Williams is a threat from beyond the arc, shooting 41.3%. Morrow, standing at 6’1”, is a problem in the paint as well and will test Vanderbilt’s undersized frontcourt.

Playing solid, fundamental defense will be the key for Vanderbilt to pull off the upset. However, with LSU’s potent offense, the Commodores will need to hit their stride offensively in order to keep up. 

Vanderbilt’s backcourt of Cambridge and Moore will need to be the playmakers for this Vanderbilt offense. Washington and Pierre will not be able to make as big of an impact against LSU with Reese in the paint. Cambridge and Moore will be forced to pick up the slack. 

Cambridge will also need to find players on the perimeter to shoot from deep. Aga Makurat and Justine Pissott will need to capitalize on open looks from beyond the arc and get hot from deep early. LSU can tire teams out with its quick tempo and high-scoring offense in the first half. Keeping it competitive in the first 20 minutes will be key to Vanderbilt staying in contention late in the game. 

The Commodores will need to play their best basketball on Thursday night to have any chance of upsetting the Tigers. LSU is a veteran-led team and will test Vanderbilt’s more inexperienced roster. If the Commodores get hot from deep and contain Reese, they could get their signature win of the season.

Vanderbilt tips off against No. 13 LSU at 8 p.m. CST on Thursday, Feb. 8.

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About the Contributors
Henry Oelhafen
Henry Oelhafen, Sports Copy Editor
Henry Oelhafen (‘26) is a student in Peabody College majoring in human and organizational development and minoring in business. Henry grew up as a Vanderbilt sports fan and loves to talk about both professional and amateur golf. In addition to writing, he loves to play golf with friends, hike and try new restaurants. He can be reached at [email protected].
Josh Rehders
Josh Rehders, Photography Director
Josh Rehders ('24) is from Houston and is studying computer science in the School of Engineering. When he is not shooting for The Hustler, Vanderbilt Athletics or freelancing, he enjoys finding new music and good food. He can be reached at [email protected].
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