Feb. 9, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Tiffany Clarke scored 23 points, and the Vanderbilt Commodores upset No. 11 Tennessee 93-79 on Thursday night for their fifth straight win overall and a very rare victory over their in-state rival.
The Commodores (19-5, 7-4 Southeastern Conference) got their first win against Tennessee since Jan. 11, 2009, by scoring their most points ever against their rival. For coach Melanie Balcomb, it was just her second win in 23 games against Tennessee since coming to Vanderbilt.
Tennessee (17-7, 8-3) had won 23 of the last 24 in this rivalry and seven straight. The Lady Vols, who fell out of the top 10 on Monday, now have lost two of three. Christina Foggie scored 22 points for Vanderbilt, and Stephanie Holzer added 19. Jasmine Lister had her first double-double with 19 points and a career-high 13 assists.
The Commodores outworked, outshot and simply outplayed Tennessee from start to finish. They shot 55.7 percent (39 of 70) compared to 45.9 percent (28 of 61) for Tennessee as they drove past the Lady Vols time and again for easy layups with plenty of room to hit jumpers. They also outrebounded the Lady Vols 41-27.
The result was Vanderbilt's highest scoring half in this series for a 42-34 halftime lead. The Commodores built that to 48-36 on a layup by Kady Schrann with 17:00 left in the second half when Tennessee finally put together its best stretch.
Johnson hit a jumper starting a 16-4 run. Stricklen, held to two points in the first half, hit a jumper and added a 3-pointer and another jumper. Taber Spani hit a pair of free throws, then Cierra Burdick tied it up at 52 with 12:33 left.
That was the Lady Vols' first lead since 6-5 and finally gave the fans wearing orange something to cheer. It didn't last because Vanderbilt didn't wither.
Foggie hit back-to-back 3s putting Vanderbilt ahead to stay, and her 3-pointer with 8:43 left made it a 65-56 lead with 8:43 left. The Commodores just kept scoring from there and went up by as much as 14 down the stretch.
Tennessee led only twice in a first half where the Lady Vols struggled and bounced off the Commodores at times. The Lady Vols took far too many jumpers, especially early that came up short. Only Johnson scoring 15 points with Simmons adding 13 kept them from being blown out early.
Tennessee returns to action in a rematch with Kentucky on Monday night at 7 p.m. The Wildcats handled the Lady Vols their first conference loss of the season, 61-60 on Jan. 12.