It can’t be easy to go up against an SEC school with only seven players stepping foot on the court.
The Vanderbilt Commodores have struggled so far this season, and their lack of depth once again proved to be their pitfall against Texas A&M as the team lost 50-43 at Memorial Gym on Thursday night. Outside of their starting five, just Bree Horrocks and Jordyn Cambridge saw playing time.
Just as they did all season, they fought until the final buzzer. In fact, for much of this game, Vanderbilt was contending with the Aggies.
The Commodores may have struggled to get anything to fall early on, but that’s only half the story. The Aggies got off to a quick 17-7 lead in the first quarter, and for the Commodores, Mariella Fasoula and Autumn Newby were the only two to score. The team shot an abysmal 2-13 from the field, but they continued to fight.
“Their fight is the story here. This team just won’t give up,” said Commodore head coach Stephanie White.
In the second quarter, it was all Vanderbilt. Texas A&M’s ten point lead quickly diminished after their first bucket of the quarter, as the Commodores went on a 9-0 run in just under four minutes of play.
Their key to success?
Well, during that span, it was still the Fasuola and Newby show. After the two combined for all of the team’s seven points in the first, they combined for eight in the second. All of a sudden, however, the Commodores were within striking distance. Cierra Walker was the only other player to score this time around, but despite their largely one-dimensional offense, Vanderbilt slowly clawed back into the fight.
Furthermore, their 15.3% field goal percentage in the first quarter hardly changed. They were ever so slightly better from the field, converting on 26.6% of their shots, but their defense saw a major upheaval.
The Commodore defense kept pressure on the Aggies, allowing just 5 points in the second quarter.
The Commodores’ momentum, however, was short-lived.
“There were some good takeaways, but it’s hard to overlook their inconsistencies,” said Coach White. “We really just let this one slip away.”
In the third quarter, as Coach White alluded to, the Commodores seemed to revert to their first quarter tendencies. The Commodores defensive woes continued into the second half, letting up 13 to the Aggies on 6-17 shooting. Once again, however, Vanderbilt fought. If this season has shown us anything, it’s that they just won’t give up.
Vanderbilt’s 14 third quarter points, fueled once again by Fasoula kept the Aggie lead down to just three going into the fourth quarter.
In the end, they came up just short of their first SEC victory, losing by a score of 50-43. There were absolutely some highlights in this one; Mariella Fasoula and Autumn Newby each tallied 14 points, and Cierra Walker managed six of her own.
White had plenty reason to cover this team’s fight. They may not have the depth that other teams boast, but they never lose their will to compete.
The Commodores now sit at 5-11 without a win in SEC play. They will head to Bud Walton Arena to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks on Sunday.