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 No. 13 LSU 85-62, falls to 17-7

The Commodores were outrebounded 57-35 as they were dominated by the Tigers.
Jordyn+Cambridge+brings+the+ball+up+the+court+as+photographed+on+Feb.+8%2C+2024.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FNikita+Rohila%29
Nikita Rohila
Jordyn Cambridge brings the ball up the court as photographed on Feb. 8, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Nikita Rohila)

On Thursday night, Vanderbilt dropped its fifth consecutive contest, losing to the No. 13 LSU Tigers 85-62. In a similar fashion to most of Vanderbilt’s losses against the SEC’s powerhouses, the Commodores were outmatched all night by the Tigers. Iyana Moore led Vanderbilt with 17 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Khamil Pierre also pitched in a double-double, posting a stat line of 13 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals. 

“I’m not a coach that focuses solely on outcome. We’re learning a lot about how we need to be tougher,” head coach Shea Ralph said after the loss.

Electing to go with a lineup consisting of Jordyn Cambridge, Jordyn Oliver, Moore, Pierre and Sacha Washington, the Commodores started off on their back heel. Vanderbilt was struggling with LSU’s size on both sides of the floor, with Tigers’ star Angel Reese putting in the first points of the game with a layup, followed by an interior bucket by Aneesah Morrow before Reese earned herself another post layup on the ensuing possession. Vanderbilt could not find itself any rhythm offensively, starting the game off by shooting 1-7 from the field and turning the ball over three times. By the first media timeout, the Commodores found themselves in a 16-2 hole. 

Trailing by fourteen, Vanderbilt began to show a heightened spirit, evident by a quick score from Moore off of a LSU turnover. Trying to find their footing defensively, the Commodores began to churn out stops until once again the Tigers settled back into the painted area. Whether it be through second chance offensive rebounds, drawing fouls or simply letting Reese work in the paint, Vanderbilt could not match up with the imposing LSU unit down low. That slight sign of building energy was flushed out by the end of the first quarter, with Vanderbilt not logging a field goal for nearly five minutes as LSU cruised to a 22-7 lead. 

In the second quarter, the Vanderbilt shooting woes continued but it garnered some success on high percentage moments, such as a Pierre offensive putback and Washington bullying her way to a layup. LSU would respond though, with point guard Hailey Van Lith knocking in a three pointer immediately after. A back and forth matchup would develop, with the Commodores slowly rising to the physical challenge posed by the Tigers as the two teams played with increasingly intense defensive effort throughout the quarter. The Commodores were able to hold LSU scoreless for about three minutes, until a telegraphed pass by Justine Pissott was stolen and turned into a fastbreak layup for Morrow. However, what kept LSU’s margin consistent was Vanderbilt’s massive struggles from behind the arc. The Commodores wouldn’t make their first three pointer until there were 32 seconds left in the first half, capping off two quarters of play, shooting 22.9% from the field and 6% from deep. 

The second half is where the keen differences between these two teams began to stand out. Vanderbilt was being outrebounded and with both Washington and Oliver in foul trouble, the lack of size and presence was being capitalized on by LSU. Cambridge would finally get some plays to go into her favor though, snagging a steal and putting up her first points of the game. Pierre would get two steals of her own on the ensuing possessions, before charging into the paint and earning shots at the charity stripe. LSU would respond with an alley-oop layup by Flau’jae Johnson, until Ryanne Moore would knock in her second three of the game for Vanderbilt. A few moments later after a pullup jumper by Mikaylah Williams, Cambridge cashed in a three after missing her first seven. 

Coming off a timeout, the Commodores ramped up the pressure by swarming entry passes into the paint and running a full court press, continuously trying to force LSU to take highly contested shots. The smothering defense by Vanderbilt caused LSU to miss eight straight field goals while head coach Kim Mulkey burned two timeouts on inbound plays. Slowly but surely, Vanderbilt was attempting to wriggle itself back into contention, entering the bonus after Reese committed her third foul of the game. Yet, the positive play unraveled late in the third, LSU finishing the quarter up by eighteen after two layups from Reese and Van Lith.

As for much of the game, the Tigers effortlessly responded to all resistant efforts from the Commodores. A huge three pointer by Moore would be followed up by a quick pullup jumper from Van Lith seconds later. A swift fastbreak layup by Aiyana Mitchell and jumpshot by Moore would be outshined by a rapid run that consisted of a pair of free throws from Aalyah Del Rosario and Johnson before Van Lith hit another jumper. Regardless of relatively decent play from Vanderbilt down the stretch, it was too little too late as LSU cruised to its seventh conference win of the season.

“We just missed a bunch of wide open shots,” Ralph said. “It took the wind out of our sails. It looked like we got a little shellshocked.”

With another loss, the Commodores have fallen to 17-7 and 4-6 in conference play, their next contest being a road matchup against Georgia. Vanderbilt will tip off against the Bulldogs Feb. 11 at 11 a.m. CDT in Stegeman Coliseum.

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About the Contributors
David Hernandez
David Hernandez, Lead Sports Analyst
David Hernandez (‘26) is a student in the College of Arts and Sciences double majoring in political science and law, history and society with a minor in communication studies. Outside of writing for The Hustler, you can find him playing basketball, catching up on his favorite shows and mourning the tragedy that is New York sports. He can be reached at [email protected].
Nikita Rohila
Nikita Rohila, Senior Staff Photographer
Nikita Rohila ('25) is from a small town in Arkansas and is majoring in psychology and medicine, health and society in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Deputy Social Media Director. During her free time, she enjoys roaming around the city and getting cinematic-style shots for her photography account! You can reach her at [email protected].
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