Nashville, TN — Jordan Chavis pulled out her cape and played Superwoman from beyond the arc, making a career-high six three-pointers to lead the No. 12 Missouri Tigers to an 81-70 romp over the Vanderbilt Commodores.
The Vanderbilt (4-14) women were powered on defense when they stepped out onto the court tonight. However, they couldn’t hold out long enough to keep the lead for even the first three minutes of the game. The Missouri Tigers were quick on their feet, literally and figuratively.
Their offensive plays were crisp and precise, aiding in them building up a 10-point lead in the first. Mizzou’s Amber Smith was a force to be reckoned with on the court. Her three-point shots were seemingly flawless. The Tigers closed out the first period with a score of 25-15.
"Amber played really solid. She’s finally settled in from that power forward spot last year to an off-guard, that’s a pretty drastic change but she just needed to settle into that spot," Mizzou head coach Robin Pingeton said.
"She’s so good with her back to the basket, she’s more and more confident. She’s playing fearless.”
Attempting to close that 10-point gap going into the second period, Vanderbilt’s Rachel Bell teamed up with Christa Reed to score five of those much-needed points. Bell drained a triple and Reed followed almost directly behind her with another two points for Vanderbilt.
Still, that wasn’t enough to scare Mizzou because they came back even stronger, gaining a 17-point lead in the middle of the second.
With help from Jordan Chavis, the Tigers stepped up their offensive skills to another level. Lacking the defense they demonstrated at the beginning of the game, the Commodores were left trailing by 11 points going into the half, 48-37.
Vanderbilt’s Cierra Walker was the unsung hero and leader of her team this evening. Playing almost the entire game, her momentum never slowed for even one moment. Scoring 17 points and three assists this game, she was definitely an aggressive asset to Vanderbilt tonight.
“The thing about Cierra is that she gives us a different pace. She has poise and composure," Vanderbilt head coach Stephanie White said. "At times we tend to go too fast, and too fast in our decision making. She doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.”
The third period was taking a lot out of both teams but the Commodores were still trailing by 25, 72-47.
The Memorial Gymnasium was filled with anticipation to see if their Vanderbilt was going to make the impossible a reality. A 25-point comeback in the final quarter of the game seemed a little far-fetched but not entirely undoable with enough aggression.
Even with Vanderbilt’s Erin Whalen stepping up her game (15 pts.), the Commodores were unable to close the large gap. Mizzou ended up walking away with the victory.
Missouri's Amber Smith and Jordan Chavis scored 18 points apiece, a career-high for the latter. Cierra Walker scored 17 to lead the Commodores, while Chelsie Hall scored 10.
Walker talked after the game about how even in the loss, her teammates have stayed aggressive.
“My teammates being aggressive to the basket, especially Chelsie being crafty and quick," Walker said. "She draws people in when she drives, which draws my defender in and so she kicks it out. She’s really good attacking it out.”
Vanderbilt will continue to look for its first SEC conference win of the season when they face Kentucky on Jan. 15.