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 falls to Tennessee for second time this season, 86-61

After suffering a 15-point deficit in the first quarter, the Commodores could never claw their way back to victory.
Vince Lin
Iyana Moore led the Commodores in scoring with 25 points. (Hustler MultiMedia/Vince Lin)

In the battle of the Volunteer State, the Vanderbilt Commodores (19-8, 6-6) fell to the Tennessee Lady Vols (16-9, 8-4), 86-61. The Commodores fell down early and never found their way back, hanging around just enough to keep it close, but never close enough to send a scare. 

“If you look at the stat sheet,” head coach Shea Ralph said, “we were pretty competitive in most areas except for our percentage where we shot…. There were some things outside of our control that didn’t go our way today.”

Iyana Moore was the game’s leading scorer with 25 points, with Sacha Washington pouring in 13 with 8 rebounds and Jordyn Cambridge adding 14 points along with 6 rebounds and 6 assists.

Right out of the jump, Tennessee played with pace and poise, working the ball inside-out, hitting two threes and getting two layups in their first five possessions. But, for every basket the Lady Vols scored, the Commodores had an answer. A mid-range jump shot from Cambridge, a catch-and-shoot three from Moore and a Washington layup kept the Commodores at a 10-7 deficit early in the first quarter.

A three-pointer by Tennessee’s leading scorer Rickea Jackson sent all the momentum Tennessee’s way. The Lady Vols went on a 12-0 run, extending their lead to 20-7 before a Jordan Oliver layup put the Commodores on the board for the first time in over three minutes. After trading blows for a few minutes, Tennessee led 30-15 at the end of the first.

The second quarter went much like the first, with a layup from Tennessee center Tamari Key matched by aMoore midrange just a step inside the three-point line. About halfway into the second, Cambridge snagged a defensive rebound and ran in transition, finding an open Iyana cross-court who swished a three from the left wing. The crowd erupted and the Commodores found life.

After two free throws from Moore and a Cambridge three, Vanderbilt forced two straight turnovers with an Aiyana Mitchell block on the 6’6” Tamari Key. However, every attempt at a comeback faltered. The Commodores went scoreless for the last three and a half minutes of the first half, including two three-pointers that rattled in-and-out from both Cambridge and Moore.

Vanderbilt went into halftime down 44-29. The Commodores were shooting 33% from the field, 25% from three and 71% from the free throw line — a severe downtick from Tennessee’s 59%, 54% and 100% splits, respectively.

Vanderbilt started the second half with two quick layups by Washington and Moore followed by a Washington and-one that she couldn’t convert. Washington and Moore would continue to take command, scoring all of Vanderbilt’s first 14 points to start the half. But the Commodores were no match for Jackson, who scored 10 in the third quarter by herself. Jackson would end the game with 24 points, shooting 11/15 from the field. The fifth-year forward recorded her seventh 20-point game of the season despite missing five games due to a leg injury.

“She’s a great player,” Ralph said about Jackson. “She plays with a lot of confidence and a lot of swag…. I think the mistakes that we made with her today is we let her catch the ball where she’s really comfortable…. Great players take advantage of your mistakes.”

Jackson’s efforts would keep the Lady Vols at a comfortable 66-48 lead going into the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter would be more of the same, with Vanderbilt’s ability to score being dampened by their inability to get stops. And when they did get stops, they couldn’t score. The Commodores had at most two unanswered baskets in a row before Tennessee would go down and match their tally. Vanderbilt could never find a rhythm and as the clock ticked down, defeat was imminent. The two-game streak was over.

Vanderbilt will next be in action on Sunday Feb. 25 when they face Arkansas on the road. Only one home game remains on the season for the Commodores — Sunday, March 3 against Georgia.

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About the Contributors
Connor Campbell
Connor Campbell, Senior Staff Writer
Connor Campbell ('25) is a human and organizational development and cinema and media arts major from Staten Island, N.Y. Connor shares a strong love for both sports and film, leading to his interest in "The Ringer" and, consequently, his casual and quippy style of writing. Outside of The Hustler, Connor does freelance photography, runs the social media accounts for Vanderbilt Club Hockey and is the president of Vanderbilt Tap That. You can reach him at [email protected].
Vince Lin
Vince Lin, Staff Photographer and Graphics Staffer
Vince Lin (‘27) is from Zanesville, Ohio, and is majoring in computer science. Vince is a staff photographer and plans on covering sports and concerts. Outside of school, you can find him at the gym, rowing, lifting weights, playing games with friends or sleeping. You can reach him at [email protected].
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Bert Kreischer
2 months ago

I am the Machine.

Connor's biggest fan
2 months ago

This is without a doubt the best hustler article I have ever read.