Nashville, TN — If you're a basketball fan, then Nashville's Memorial Gymnasium was the place to be on Saturday night, as the Memphis Tigers (3-8) came back to beat the Vanderbilt Commodores, 71-60.
The contest started out in an extremely physical way. These women were hitting the court hard, in an attempt to get the ball back in their possession. In fact, Vanderbilt’s Kaleigh Clemons-Green unfortunately took a painful hit to the face and took a seat for the remainder of the first half.
The first three-point jumper of the game was made by Memphis’ Brea Elmore, but that was quickly followed by a triple by Vanderbilt's very own Christa Reed.
Although Elmore started out hot, Vanderbilt led 15-9 at the end of the first quarter.
About halfway through the second frame, the Tigers had erased the Commodores small lead and tied the game at 17 apiece with 6:52 left in the period. Memorial Gymnasium was filled with excitement, watching to see where the ball was going next as both teams traded baskets.
Memphis battled to take a lead, yet it was short lived as Rachel Bell drilled a three-pointer to give Vanderbilt back the lead, 24-22. From there the game continued to go back and forth, but as the teams headed to their respective locker-rooms at intermission, the Commodores held the lead still, 29-28.
Elmore explained that Memphis has learned quickly that they have to keel working as a team to stay close.
“Earlier in the season we learned that we had to stay together," Elmore said.
In the third quarter, the Tigers did exactly that — stayed together.
It wasn't difficult for Memphis to snag the lead back in the beginning of the third with a player like Elmore, who is swift and careful with her maneuvers on the court. She is definitely an incredible asset to the Tigers and does an astounding job at leading her team.
Clemons-Green came back to the court in the third after recovering, and everyone could see the determination in her eyes. Anticipation was filling Memorial Gymnasium, watching to see if Memphis could keep their seven point-lead (52-45) going into the final quarter.
One player missing from Vanderbilt’s lineup in the third was Bell. After resting, as soon as she returned to the court she caught fire. She brought up the vigor for her team, who was behind nine points with 5:09 left on the clock. Though they fought with everything they could, the Commodores weren't able to hold it down at home.
Memphis picked up a much-needed win and its first win on the road at Vanderbilt, 71-60.
“Everyone knows that we’ve faced some adversity but nobody is going to feel sorry for us,” stated the Tigers’ head coach Melissa McFerrin on her team staying hungry. “We have to find our own way to be successful.”
Vanderbilt head coach Stephanie White felt like her team wasn't in a good mindset.
“Right now we have to find a way to get our players some confidence, because right now, they don't have any confidence," White said. "You can see it in their body language, and in everything that we do.”
Memphis will host Jackson State next on Tuesday, while Vanderbilt plays host to North Carolina State the same day.
Vanderbilt is REALLY STRUGGLING!Posted by Swish Appeal on Saturday, December 16, 2017