On Saturday afternoon, when the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles visited Memorial Gym, the Dores carried that solid defense into the game, starting out with a 15-0 run in the first five minutes of the game.
"I just think that they were ready to play defensively," Head Coach Melanie Balcomb said after the game. "And if you just play good, solid fundamental defense, and make them make shots, you're going to dominate on the boards and be able to run."
After Vanderbilt's 15-0 start, the Golden Eagles managed to cut the lead back to single digits only once. After that, the Dores maintained the lead around 15 points regardless of which players were on the court. At halftime, the Dores took at 33-20 lead into the locker room.
Vanderbilt's strong performance on both ends of the court carried on through the second half. Midway through the half, a pair of free throws by Claire Watkins pushed the lead out to 20 points, and after that, the Golden Eagles never came closer than that.
There were several bright spots statistically for Vanderbilt in the game. Defensively, they held the Lady Govs to 29.7% shooting and dominated the boards 46-27. On the offensive end, after several games of shooting less than 40% from the field, the Dores shot 50% from the field, 45.5% from 3-point range, and 85.% from the free throw line.
"Early on [in the season] we were playing as fast on offense as on defense, and you can't play like that," Coach Balcomb said. "You have to play relaxed. "So as we start to trust our defense and you start to hold people to 0 for a while, then you can play relaxed on offense and all of a sudden you're making shots and you're not going so fast.
"And if you're not going so fast, you can read the other team and not just run a play but read the defense and counter to what they're doing and get better shots. I think this is the best shot selection we've had and that's why we shot 50%."
The Dores help to continue their success on the road Tuesday night at Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Kentucky, against the Western Kentucky Lady Hilltoppers. Game time is 7 p.m., and the game can be heard on 560 AM WNSR.
Starting lineup: Jasmine Lister, Gabby Smith, Kady Schrann, Elan Brown, and Tiffany Clarke.
Gabby Smith hits a 3-pointer
Tennessee Tech Coach Jim Davis is in his first season in Cookeville, but women's basketball fans might remember him as the long-time coach at Clemson University. During his tenure there, Clemson went to the NCAA tournament 14 times.
This pass into the post won't show up in the box score as an assist for Morgan Batey. But the play resulted in two points when Clarke was fouled and made both of the awarded free throws.
The three players in warmup suits are Kristen Gaffney (in the middle), who is continued to rehab her knee following a torn ACL last spring, Kendall Shaw who is listed as day-to-day with a sprained knee, and Christina Foggie who is also listed as day-to-day with sprained tendons in her right foot.