Vanderbilt fell to 12th-ranked Missouri 81-70 at home to begin SEC play 0-4.
This is just the second time since the 1988-1989 season that the Commodores have gone 0-4 or worse to start conference play. Last year, the squad went 0-7 to start the SEC slate.
For the seventh game in a row, the team allowed at least 80 points. Defense has been lacking all year, and this game was no exception. Missouri saw may open looks throughout the game.
Coach Stephanie White went small with her lineup tonight. Four guards: Rachel Bell, Cierra Walker, Chelsie Hall, and Christa Reed started with forward Autumn Newby.
The Commodores started slow against Missouri. The Tigers led by as many as 12 points in the first quarter.
Vanderbilt was plagued by foul trouble early. Standout freshman Newby picked up two fouls in the game’s first six minutes and spent much of the rest of the half on the bench.
After that, White shifted to a taller lineup with Kayla Overbeck and Erin Whalen.
Even after the shift, no one could stop Missouri guards Amber Smith and Jordan Chavis, who combined for 31 points in the first half.
Both sides had trouble maintaining possession. In the first half, Missouri committed 11 turnovers and Vanderbilt gave the ball away seven times.
Vanderbilt began the second half down 48-37.
About halfway through the third quarter, Overbeck picked up her third foul of the night and was subbed out for Blessing Ejiofor to preserve a taller lineup.
Missouri’s Sophie Cunningham, who was named to the All-American Honorable Mention team last year, was held scoreless for the game’s first 30 minutes before sinking a three-pointer. Cunningham came into Memorial Gym averaging 18.8 points per game, but was held to just five points.
The Commodores were outscored 24-10 in the third, as Missouri continued to pull away, aided by Jordan Frerick’s eight points.
Player of the Game Cierra Walker continued her recent hot streak by going 4-5 from three-point range and scoring a total of 17 points.
“She’s just really solid and she’s shooting the ball really well,” White said of Walker.
Erin Whalen added 15 points and Kayla Overbeck tacked on another 12 in her return from a concussion.
White praised Overbeck’s effort and said, “she was very efficient” when she entered the game. Overbeck went shot 100% on her four attempts.
Vanderbilt faces Kentucky next on Monday, January 15th at Memorial Gym at 6 PM.