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Strong second half leads `Dores past WKU


NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A senior and a freshman provided a perfect balance - and a powerful punch - for the Vanderbilt women's basketball team on Monday night.

Senior Christina Foggie scored 21 of her game-high 26 points in the first half and freshman Rebekah Dahlman added 18 points - including ripping off 14 straight early in the second half -- to help Vanderbilt overcome a sluggish start and roll past Western Kentucky, 85-60, in a non-conference game at Memorial Gym.

The two Jasmines -- Lister and Jenkins -- also reached double figures, with Lister finishing with 11 points and Jenkins adding 10 for Vanderbilt (2-0). Rayte'a Long had a team-high nine rebounds and Heather Bowe and Morgan Batey added seven boards apiece to help Vanderbilt win the battle on the glass, 48-31.

Alexis Govan scored 18 to pace Western Kentucky (1-1).

Foggie scored her 26 points efficiently, taking just 11 shots from the floor, making seven. She finished 5-of-9 from 3-point range and was 7-of-7 of the foul line while producing her highest offensive output since scoring 26 against Duke in the final game of her sophomore season.

"They were just giving me open shots, and I've been trained to shoot it and knock it down," said Foggie. "So, I just had confidence from the start."

Vanderbilt, which opened the season on Friday with a 96-53 win over Appalachian State, started slowly against Western Kentucky.

But Foggie almost single-handedly kept Vanderbilt afloat in the first half, scoring 12 of the Commodores' first 17 points in the first 11-plus minutes. She was 6-of-8 from the floor in the first 20 minutes, including 4-of-6 from long range, and she was the primary reason that Vanderbilt eventually owned a 37-31 lead at the break.

In the second half, it was Dahlman's turn to dominate.

She scored 16 of her 18 points in the final 20 minutes, highlighted by her 14-point flurry that started with a layup at the 16:24 mark and ended when she nailed a jumper at the 12:32 mark. Vanderbilt owned a 46-34 lead before her explosion, and a 58-38 advantage by the time it ended.

"(The) first half I started out really slow," said Dahlman. "I talked to coach after the game and she (said) `you just didn't buy in.' I agreed. But the second half I just came out really confident. I just did my thing and knocked down shots."

The Commodores, who host Delaware State on Thursday night, trailed for much of the first half before putting together a dominating 13-minute stretch in which they outscored Western Kentucky, 37-8. The huge surge -- which spanned the final 5 1/2 minutes of the first half and the first seven of the second -- enabled Vanderbilt to flip a 28-19 deficit into a 56-35 lead.

What led to the big turnaround?

"It was definitely a change in defensive mentality," said Foggie. "Picking up our energy on the defensive end let us get into transition. We didn't get into transition at all during the first half, and that's a big part of our game."

Head coach Melanie Balcomb agreed with Foggie's assessment.

"(Western Kentucky) came out very aggressive and ready to play whereas we came out flat," said Balcomb. "We were a little shell shocked at the beginning. The good thing is we made a positive change."

Foggie was on fire from the start. She hit her first three shots of the night from 3-point range, including converting a four-point play when she was fouled while knocking down her third 3 of the half. She accounted for 10 of Vanderbilt's first 11 points.

Aside from Foggie, no other Commodore scored more than four points in the opening 20 minutes, and Western Kentucky owned the lead for much of the half. The Hilltoppers eventually built a nine-point edge, 28-19, after a basket by Bianca McGee with 5:25 left in the half.

But Vanderbilt reversed the game's momentum by putting together a 18-3 run to close the half. Foggie jumpstarted the surge with four free throws and a layup. Kylee Smith and Heather Bowe capped the run with back-to-back layups, forcing WKU to call a timeout. After a pair of free throws by Govan cut Vanderbilt's lead to 33-31, Foggie answered with her fourth 3 of the half to extend the lead to 36-31.

Vanderbilt's lead quickly swelled in the opening minutes of the second half when the Commodores pushed the advantage to 56-36, and they cruised home from there.



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