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First Tennessee Tournament
Championship Game
Vanderbilt vs. Harvard
84 - 44
December 1, 2002
Memorial Gym

Story

Women's Basketball Defeats Harvard Convincingly, 84-44; Wins First Tennessee Tournament 12/01/02
McElhiney Garners Most Valuable Player Honors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Commodores continued their dominance at their annual tournament, as they defeated Ivy League foe Harvard, 84-44, in the championship game of the First Tennessee Tournament. With the win, Vanderbilt now has won 24-consecutive games in their annual tournament (12 straight championships). More importantly, the No. 8-ranked Commodores move their 2002-03 record to 4-0. The Crimson drop their first game of the season, while their record falls to 3-1.

Vanderbilt came out in the first half on a mission, and this was evident by its performance on the offensive end. The Commodores finished the half shooting 56 percent from the field on 15-for-27 shooting. Harvard, on the other hand, was only able to muster up six field goals while shooting only 21 percent. The closest the Crimson would get in the first half was a 2-0 defecit less than two minutes into the contest.

The Commodores went into the intermission with a 42-15 lead. The 15 points allowed by the Vanderbilt defense was the fewest it has allowed since last season's contest against Louisville. The Commodores gave up only 14 points in the first half against the Cardinals back on January 7, 2002.

Senior center Chantelle Anderson and junior forward Jenni Benningfield controlled the paint in the first hlaf, as they combined for 25 points. Anderson finished the half with 13 points and six rebounds.

Of Harvard's 29 first-half shots, 19 of them came from three point range. Of their 19 three pointers, the Crimson converted only two.

The Commodores would not let up in the second half, as they stretched their lead to as much as 48 points. Vanderbilt continued its outstanding shooting, as it shot 65 percent from the field in the second half. Harvard's shooting woes continued, as it went 11-for-37 from the field for 30 percent.

Vanderbilt had a strong afternoon from behind the arc, as it shot 7-for-9 from three-point range; however, of the 33 three-point shots taken by Harvard, it converted only four.

Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb received double-figure outputs from five players. Anderson was the game's high scorer with 19 points. She also recorded seven rebounds and three assists. Senior guard Ashley McElhiney, who was named the tournament's most valuable player, turned in a 14 point, four assist, four rebound performance. Sophomore guard Tia Battle recorded 13 points, while Benningfield finished with 12 and forward Ashley Early had 10.

Harvard was led by forward Hana Peljto, who finished with 15 points. She was coming off a 29 point performance the day before against Central Michigan. Center Reka Cserny chipped in 12 points.

The Commodores will now hit the road for their toughest challenge so far this season, as they will take on No. 6-ranked Purdue in the Hoops for the Cure Classic at the Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz. The match-up, which will take place at 2:30 p.m. (MT) Saturday, December 7, will be the second game of a double-header. The first contest pits Arizona State against Notre Dame, which will tip-off at 12 p.m. (MT).

This will be the seventh meeting between these two teams, with Vanderbilt holding a 4-2 margin; however, Purdue won the last time out, 63-51, during the 1999-2000 season in West Lafayette, Ind.

Consolation Game
Central Michigan vs. Youngstown State


NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Central Michigan earned third place in the First Tennessee Tournament by defeating Youngstown State, 56-51, on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Gymnasium. With the win, the Chippewas move to 3-1 on the season, while the Penguins fall to 1-3.

In a game which saw poor shooting by both teams, Central Michigan never relinquished the lead for the entire 40 minutes. For the contest, the Chippewas shot 31 percent on 20-for-64 shooting, while the Penguins finished 20-for-60 from the field for 33 percent.

Central Michigan was led by guard Erin Kuhl, who finished with 11 points,11 rebounds and six assists. Guard Lindy Hatfield came off the bench to lead all scorers with 13 points. Youngstown State was led by forwards Jessica Forsythe, Jen Perugini and center Tara Fleming, who all finished with 10 points.

First Tennessee All-Tournament Team

Ashley McElhiney - Vanderbilt (MVP)
Chantelle Anderson - Vanderbilt
Jenni Benningfield - Vanderbilt
Hana Peljto - Harvard
Tara Fleming - Youngstown State
Desiree Eidson - Central Michigan

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