Vanderbilt vs Arizona State
March 18, 2002
Memorial Gym


The Vanderbilt women's basketball team used a strong defensive effort to propell them past Arizona State 61-35 and into the "Sweet Sixteen" Monday night at Memorial Gym. Senior Zuzi Klimesova scored 15 points to lead Vanderbilt offensively while the Commodores' defense frustrated the Sun Devils into their worst offensive performance of the season. The overall result was a Vanderbilt win that sends the Commodores to the regional semifinals for the eighth time in coach Jim Foster's 11-year tenure in Nashville and ends Arizona State's season with their worst defeat of the year.

The Commodores began the game strong, as they opened the contest on a 12-2 run. The Sun Devils would respond from the early run and cut the Commodores' advantage to six, 19-13, with seven minutes remaining in the first half. However, Vanderbilt would take back the momentum as they closed the half on a 13-2 run to take a 32-15 lead into the locker room. McElhiney led the offensive attack for the Commodores in the first half with 10 points while the Commodore defense held Arizona State to 25 percent from the floor and forced ten Sun Devil turnovers. The Sun Devils' 15 first half points were a season low as they faced their largest halftime deficit of the year (17).

Vanderbilt began the second half by attacking the inside with Anderson and Klimesova, who combined for the Commodores' first 13 points as the Commodores built a 45-22 lead. VU would not let the Sun Devils get closer than 19 points the rest of the night and pulled away for the 26-point win.

In her final game at Memorial Gym, Klimesova led the 'Dores with 15 points, as four Commodores scored in double figures. Fellow senior Jillian Danker added 13 points while juniors Chantelle Anderson and McElhiney scored 14 and 12 points respectively. Arizona State was led by Melody Johnson's 13 points. Defensively, the Commodores held the Sun Devils to a season-low 35 points on 28 percent shooting from the floor.

The Commodores, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, advance to the regional semifinals in Ames, Iowa next weekend where they will meet the No. 4 seed Tar Heels of North Carolina.


Vanderbilt Head Coach Jim Foster:

"Ashley McElhiney is the consummate point guard. There are very few of those around anymore. You need a strong leader who takes care of the ball. She controls the floor both offensively and defensively."

"We're doing what we do at a very high level, and we're doing it every time down."

"We have been a pretty good rebounding team all year. We've gotten better lately. To be an
excellent defensive team, you have to make their first shot difficult and not give them a second."

Vanderbilt Guard Ashley McElhiney:

"At this point of the season, defense is going to carry you. You can have off nights offensively, but there is never a reason to have an off night defensively. As long as you work hard on defense, it's going to carry you.

"Levens is a huge part of their offense. We knew we had to shut her down. All five of us did a great job of doing that."

Vanderbilt Guard Jillian Danker:

"At this point, defense is our focus. We need our offense to be strong, but what we are really proud of is our defense."

Arizona State Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne:
"Not even our defense is good enough to beat Vanderbilt on their home court when we shoot 29%."

"My biggest concerns were realized. We needed to rebound a lot better than we did. They box out very well. We control the game when we control the boards, and we couldn't do that tonight."
(on McElhiney) "What else do you want in a point guard? She's smart, works hard and plays great defense. And she just doesn't miss an open shot."

Arizona State Guard Amanda Levens:

"We weren't knocking down shots, so it made us impatient. We got some good looks, but we just didn't knock them down."

"McElhiney is what makes them go. To be a championship team, you need someone like that on the floor. Her stats may not always show it, but she's what makes them go."


Vanderbilt Athletic Department
2601 Jess Neely Drive
Nashville, TN 37212
615-322-GOLD (4653)