DALLAS — Vanderbilt entered its Saturday at the Lady Techsters Classic determined to challenge itself and, after a review of the Commodores’ lopsided five victories, it seems the challenge was accepted.
The second-ranked Commodores crushed Adelphi and Grambling in baker sets and breezed by Sam Houston State, Southern and Tulane in traditional team games in an impressive display of dominance.
Vanderbilt leads the event by 771 pins over second place Sam Houston with the rest of the eight-team field far behind.
It could be said it was “deuces wild” for the hot-shooting Dores, who got at least two powerful scores in each of their five matches. It was the kind of day when a 299 isn’t mentioned until now. More on that later.
“I told the team at the end of the day that I was proud we competed at our level,” Vandy head coach John Williamson said. “We played Vanderbilt bowling and didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about our opponents.
“Today we shared the load. People picked each other up and took advantage of their opportunities. I was really pleased that we figured out a difficult shot that we were not really comfortable with and made it work. We were steady with few mistakes.”
How dominant has Vandy been so far? The top four individuals with four traditional games remaining are Commodores, headed by Amanda Naujokas with a 229.3 average.
About that 299.
The Commodores had begun their 5-game baker set against Grambling with a couple of routine scores. At that point, Naujokas began Game 3 with a strike, followed by strikes from Alyssa Ballard, Caroline Thesier, Victoria Varano and Mabel Cummins.
And then they did it again.
The USA Bowl venue became very quiet as Cummins, sensing a share of school history, bore down in the 10th. The All-American’s first shot—bingo. Taking her time, the second shot … bingo!
The same routine on the capper and the shot looked true but that nasty 2 pin had other ideas. A 299, which falls behind six Vandy 300’s—including one in November—in the record book.
Naujokas spent the entire day in the leadoff spot and the junior was on her game, producing scores of 223-197 and closing with a nifty 268 that included 10 strikes in her last 11 shots.
“Amanda is more comfortable being on top of the shot than some others may be,” Williamson said. “She was in her zone and it was apparent.”
All five Dores took turns carrying the moment.
Vandy had pairs of big scores in the two baker matches. Naujokas and Thesier (268) carried the day in the Sam Houston win while Ballard’s red-hot 256 and Cummins’ 248 were more than enough against Southern. Naujokas contributed her 268 against Tulane with Cummins adding 236 more as Vandy rolled to a 1,128-909 win.
The 8-2 record so far at the tournament improves Vandy’s season record to 66-22.
Round robin team play continues at 8:30 a.m. Sunday with a free livestream happening on bowltv.com. The different format will have Vanderbilt playing four traditional games followed by one best-of-seven match to determine the tournament champion.