BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Vanderbilt shot 63.3 percent from the field for the game - opening the second half by knocking down its first 11 shots - but were forced to hold off a late Lady Topper charge to hold on for a 77-67 victory over WKU Tuesday night at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The loss dropped WKU to 5-2 on the season, while Commodores improved to 6-3.
"I say it again, but my team got better today. Every day then come in and continue to battle and make improvements," said Lady Topper head coach Michelle Clark-Heard. "I don't think I've ever seen a team come in and shoot the way Vanderbilt did tonight, but that's what makes them a really, really good team. I challenged our team when we got down 13 to get stops, and they responded. I'm disappointed in the loss, but very proud of my team tonight."
With WKU leading by one point at intermission, Vanderbilt got a three-point play from Christina Foggie in the first minute of the second half to quickly regain a two-point lead. Despite watching the Commodores not miss a shot for the first seven minutes of the period, the Lady Toppers remained within striking distance, retaking a one-point lead early in the period, and trailing but just two after a LeAsia Wright jumper made it a 50-48 score with 14:56 to play.
Kady Schrann hit the first of three consecutive three pointers for Vanderbilt, however, as it used a 13-2 run to open up a 63-50 lead with just under 12 minutes remaining. The Lady Toppers were able to chip away, limiting the Commodores to just five points over the next nine-and-a-half minutes, cutting the deficit to 68-62 on a Chaney Means layup with 2:55 to play.
Tiffany Clarke answered with a three-point play on the other end to stop the bleeding for Vandy, but Micah Jones again got WKU within six as she buried a three with 2:22 remaining. That would be as close as the Lady Toppers would get, however, as Vanderbilt limited them to just one more basket in the final two minutes to hold on for the 10-point victory.
Vanderbilt shot 60.9 percent from the field in the first half, but it was the Lady Toppers that went into the locker room with the advantage on the scoreboard. After hitting its first two shots to take an early 5-3 lead, WKU missed six straight as the Commodores were able to jump out to a 9-5 advantage, and then a 12-7 lead after a Schrann three. Vanderbilt would equal that five-point lead midway through the half when a Clarke layup made it a 22-17 score, but the Lady Toppers scored nine of the next 11 points to regain a 26-24 lead on a Alexis Govan jumper with 6:03 remaining before halftime.
Vanderbilt tied the game twice, then retook the lead at 30-28 on a Heather Bowe jumper with 2:43 on the clock. After swapping baskets, Jones was able to put WKU back in front when her three made it 33-32 with 1:14 to go. After Vandy regained a one-point lead in the final minute, Ileana Johnson hit a jumper with 17 ticks left, and WKU held on defense to hold on to a 35-34 lead at the break.
WKU - which shot 46.7 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes - was paced by Chastity Gooch's 10 first-half points. Govan added eight, while Jones chipped in six on a pair of three pointers. Schrann led the Commodores with nine points at the half.
For the game, Gooch and Govan each tossed in 15 points to lead the Lady Topper offense, while Jones finished in double figures with 12 thanks to 4-for-8 shooting from three-point range. Means and Johnson each tossed in seven points. Foggie scored 16 of her game-high 18 points in the second half to lead four Commodores in double figures.
WKU heads back out on the road for a two-game nonconference road swing, starting with a 6 p.m. (CST) contest Thursday night at Morehead State. The road trip will conclude on Sunday with a 1 p.m. game at Kent State.