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January 19, 2014
Women knock off No. 14 LSU
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The shooting percentages just continue to rise for the Vanderbilt women's team. And chances are, the No. 24/25 Commodores will see their national ranking rise this week, too.
Vanderbilt was effective from all over the floor Sunday -- long range, inside and the foul line -- during an impressive 79-70 victory over No. 14/14 LSU before a large and energetic crowd of 6,020 at Memorial Gym.
Senior Jasmine Lister scored a game-high 25 points and fellow senior Christina Foggie added 19 for the Commodores (16-3, 5-1), who built a 20-point lead in the second half and then fought off an LSU comeback bid down the stretch. The win was the Commodores' fourth straight and their 13th in the past 14 games.
Danielle Ballard finished with 23 points for LSU (14-4, 3-2) and Theresa Plaisance added 16.
Foggie and Lister combined to go 13-of-24 from the floor, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range. Lister, the reigning SEC and espnW Player of the Week, was 10-of-10 from the foul line and also dished out a team-high seven assists. Morgan Batey added 11 points and four rebounds.
Lister said she and Foggie were simply being opportunistic while leading Vanderbilt's to its third win over a ranked opponent this month.
"We just both took what the defense gave us, and what the offense gave us as well," said Lister. "Our team just executed well and set good screens. ... It's a team effort and our team did a great job of finding us shots."
Vanderbilt entered the weekend as the SEC leaders -- and ranked among the Top-5 in the nation -- in field goal percentage and 3-point percentage. And the Commodores showed why against LSU. They shot 52 percent from the floor, including 59 percent in the second half, and finished 7-of-11 from 3-point range (63.6).
Vanderbilt also made 24-of-30 attempts from the foul line to continue a season-long trend. The Commodores entered the weekend ranked second in the SEC and 12th in the nation in free-throw percentage.
Vanderbilt's solid work at the foul line came in handy down the stretch Sunday. After seeing LSU trim Vanderbilt's 20-point lead down to seven with 90 seconds to play, Vanderbilt hit 5-of-6 free throws to close out the win.
"I have two seniors (Lister and Foggie) playing like seniors, very composed, big down the stretch, keeping the team together," said head coach Melanie Balcomb. "Then, (I also have) a lot of players doing their role and doing their job to the best they can at the time. So you're seeing different people step up. I thought we were really a team today."
Freshman Kylee Smith finished with eight points and five rebounds for the Commodores, and made a series of big plays down the stretch. Kady Schrann also had eight points, and Marqu'es Webb had six rebounds.
Early in the game, it appeared that Vanderbilt -- which upset then-No. 8/8 Tennessee last week -- was in for dogfight against LSU. The first half featured seven lead changes and four ties, and the Commodores owned a 29-26 lead at the break.
But Vanderbilt opened the second half with a 15-5 run that included 3-pointers by Foggie and Schrann to extend the lead to 44-31 with 14:37 to go. The advantage eventually swelled to 62-42 after a pull-up jumper by Jasmine Jenkins with 6:58 to play.
At that point, it seemed the Commodores were cruising. But LSU wasn't finished.
The Tigers reeled off a 19-6 run to get back in the game, and twice drew as close as seven points, the final time coming at 70-63 after two free throws by Plaisance with 1:30 left. But Foggie converted a layup on Vanderbilt's next possession and Lister followed with a pair of free throws to push the lead back to 11 points, and Commodores held on from there.
Foggie said that she and Lister are enjoying their duties as senior leaders.
"There's a leadership role that goes along with just playing," she said. "So you can't just go out there and play. You've got to count for other people on your team. It's good to have a partner to do it."
Vanderbilt now has a week to prepare for next Sunday's home game against South Carolina. The Gamecocks beat Vanderbilt, 76-66, on Jan. 5 in South Carolina.