Commodores unofficially opened the Melanie Balcomb era with
a tough 79-73 win over Athletes in Action Friday night in
Memorial Gymnasium. Leading the way for the Commodores was
senior Chantelle Anderson with 24 points and 12 rebounds.
The Commodores, sporting new Nike uniforms, began the game
with a three point clinic. Senior Chantelle Anderson scored
on the first possession of the game with a conventional three
point play. Following Anderson was a stretch where Vanderbilt
nailed a three-pointer on six of their next seven buckets
to cut the early deficit to 23-25.
Setting the tone for the Commodores in the opening half was
sophomore Tia Battle as she turned up the defensive pressure
to force two turnovers. Battle also contributed on the offensive
end by going 2-3 on three pointers.
Fans at Memorial Gym were silenced on two different occasions
when two starters were treated for injuries. Hitting the floor
hard after having her feet knocked out from under her, Hillary
Hager had to leave the game after only three minutes of action
with an injury to the eye. Later, senior guard Ashley McElhiney
rolled in agony on the floor for several minutes before getting
help to the bench after colliding with teammate Jenni Benningfield.
To a standing ovation, both returned before the end of the
The Commodores finished the first half leading 37-33.
The second half began with a significant effort to work the
ball inside as the majority of the Vanderbilt scoring came
from within the paint. Preseason SEC Player of the Year Chantelle
Anderson scored early and often in the second half as she
added 21 points to finish the game with 24.
For every run Athletes in Action made, Vanderbilt had the
answer. When the lead dropped from eight to three on several
different occasions, it was the Vanderbilt defense gaining
control of the game.
Vanderbilt finished the game with three players scoring in
double digits. In addition to Anderson, junior Jenni Benningfield
scored 16 points and junior Hillary Hager added 17 with 2
The Commodores return to Memorial Gym for the second exhibition
game Sunday the 10th of November at 1 pm to face the Reebok