Vanderbilt vs Arkansas
January 23, 2002
Back in SEC Race; Upset No. 7 Arkansas, 76-59 1/23/03
Benningfield and Anderson combine for 53 points in victory
Tenn. - With the Vanderbilt women's basketball team needing
a victory to keep pace with the rest of the Southeastern Conference
teams and with senior Ashley McElhiney out with an injury, the
chances of upsetting No. 7-ranked Arkansas seemed rather slim.
With the odds against them, the Commodores were able to put
together one of their most complete games in defeating the Lady
'Backs, 76-59, in front of 3,617 fans at Memorial Gymnasium.
With the win, the Commodores move 12-5 overall and even their
SEC mark at 2-2, while the Lady 'Backs fall to 16-3 overall
and 3-1 in the conference. Vanderbilt now leads the all-time
series over Arkansas, 9-4.
Head coach Melanie Balcomb entered Thursday evening's game without
the services of her All-SEC point guard Ashley McElhiney, who
was out a high ankle sprain. McElhiney's absence from the line-up
ended a streak of 64-consecutive starts.
With McElhiney out, freshman Erica Grimaldi was called on to
make her first career start for the Commodores. Grimaldi did
not look a freshman out there more or less a player who was
making her first start. Through the first 20 minutes of action,
all of which she played, Grimaldi helped the Commodores take
a 33-23 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Junior Jenni Benningfield and senior Chantelle Anderson had
outstanding first half's for the Commdores, as they combined
for 22 points and nine rebounds. Benningfield led all players
in the first half with 13 points, as she shot 5-for-5 from the
One shocking statistic from the first half was the three-point
shooting of both teams. The Commodores, who entered the game
averaging seven three-point field goals, did not attempt one
three-point shot in the first 20 minutes of play. On the other
hand, the Lady 'Backs attempted six three pointers; however,
they were not able to hit one.
For the half, Vanderbilt shot an outstanding 65 percent from
the floor on 11-for-17 shooting, while Arkansas was 10-for-29
for 35 percent.
The Commodores continued their upbeat pace in the second half;
however, the Lady 'Backs battled back midway through the half
to cut the lead to 48-44. The four-point defecit would be the
closest they would get, as Vanderbilt used a 20-5 run late in
the half to seal the 17-point victory.
With Arkansas only trailing by four points, Vanderbilt went
to its go-to players in Benningfield and Anderson. The two combined
for an incredible 53 points and 17 rebounds. Benningfield topped
her previous career high, which was 24, with 28 points, 10 rebounds
and six assists. She also went 12-for-14 from the field and
4-for-6 from the line. Anderson tallied 25 points on 9-for-11
shooting and seven rebounds. She also had four steals and two
One of the tales of the tape for game was Vanderbilt's domination
inside the paint. The Commodores outscored the Lady 'Backs in
the paint by a 50-22 margin. The Black and Gold also had one
of its best rebounding efforts of the season, as they outrebounded
Arkansas, 36-24. Finally, the shocking stat from the first half
held up through the entire contest, as the Commdores did not
attempt one three-point shot the entire game.
Arkansas was led by forward Shameka Christon, who tallied 22
points and grabbed four rebounds.
The women's basketball team will venture back on the road for
another difficuly SEC match-up, as Vanderbilt takes on No. 6-ranked
Louisiana State University at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Pete Maravich
Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La. The Commodores have won
the last six meetings against the Lady Tigers.