Vanderbilt women demolish Radford 80-46

Commodores move to 2-0 on the season with an easy home victory

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Vanderbilt women demolish Radford 80-46

Vanderbilt women's basketball defeats Radford 80-46 on Friday night in Memorial Gym

Vanderbilt women's basketball defeats Radford 80-46 on Friday night in Memorial Gym

Truman McDaniel

Vanderbilt women's basketball defeats Radford 80-46 on Friday night in Memorial Gym

Truman McDaniel

Truman McDaniel

Vanderbilt women's basketball defeats Radford 80-46 on Friday night in Memorial Gym

Alyssa Muir, Senior Writer

It was the Mariella Fasoula show on Friday night in Memorial Gymnasium as the 6’5” center dominated from start to finish and led the Commodores to their second win of the season. Fasoula scored the opening bucket of the game and never looked back from there, finishing with 29 points, tying her career high, and 11 rebounds. 

“Our game really lets us exploit the in-and-out so when the shots go down we can find the ball inside,” Fasoula said. 

For the second straight game the Vanderbilt defense was swarming, pressuring the opposing guards into bad decision after bad decision. The Commodores forced the Highlanders into six turnovers in the first four minutes of the game, which led to several transition baskets. By the end of the game, Radford had turned the ball over 21 times and Vanderbilt had scored 26 points off of those turnovers. 

“I feel like it’s been night and day since last year,” Fasoula said of the team’s defensive mindset. “We have so much more energy and we’re really starting to take pride in it. It’s just fun to be out there and play that type of defense and just be aggressive and get points off of it.” 

Through two games, the defense has been spearheaded by sophomore guard Jordyn Cambridge. Cambridge battled knee injuries both last season and throughout her senior year of high school, but you would never know it by watching her play this season. The speedy guard pressured Radford’s players all game and finished with four steals in addition to two massive blocks on three-point attempts, which fired up the bench. 

“She really does set the tone for us,” head coach Stephanie White said of Cambridge. “She’s got such great, active hands and feet. She’s got really good instincts and she just understands where the ball is and she understands timing. She gets her hands on a lot of balls and it sets the tone for our entire defense. She’s kind of the head of the snake and Autumn [Newby] has really been the anchor for us inside.” 

The Highlanders kept it close through the first quarter and into the second but Fasoula and guard Chelsie Hall spurred a 14-7 Commodore run that gave the team a 34-22 halftime lead. At halftime, Fasoula was already up to 13 points and five rebounds. 

Sophomore forward Brinae Alexander opened the second half with four consecutive points and then Fasoula went back to work. The Highlanders could not handle her physicality; on seemingly every position she was smoothly sealing off her defender and getting position right underneath the basket where she could catch and drop-step for easy lay-ups. She scored three quick baskets, extending Vanderbilt’s lead to 46-29 and forcing Radford head coach Mike McGuire to call a timeout. 

After the timeout, the Highlanders started sending more bodies to help guard Fasoula, but that just opened things up for LeaLea Carter off the bench. Carter made four of her five shot attempts in the quarter and helped stretch the Commodore lead to 56-34 by the end of the quarter. 

It initially seemed as if Radford had finally made a good adjustment against Fasoula but she quickly figured it out and scored another ten points in the fourth quarter, leading Vanderbilt to a 80-46 victory. 

The Commodores shot 52.4 percent from the field while holding the Highlanders to 35.4 percent shooting. Vanderbilt also scored an astounding 62 of their 80 points in the paint. 

Though it has only been two games, it is already clear that there has been a major culture shift in this program and the players are loving it. 

“There’s just a different type of energy and chemistry that we built with the team that hasn’t really been built before,” Fasoula said. “It’s just really cool to play with this group of people because it’s just more fun this year, there’s more energy, and it’s more competitive and aggressive.” 

After two tune-up games to open the season, Vanderbilt will face a major challenge in their next game: a showdown with the perennial powerhouse University of Connecticut on Nov. 13. 

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