Dores March On

The Commodores score their first NCAA Tournament victory since 2013 with a 72-68 win over Columbia in the First Four

BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Vanderbilt women’s basketball team marches on in the 2024 NCAA Tournament, as the No. 12-seeded Commodores defeated No. 12-seeded Columbia, 72-68, in a First Four contest at Cassell Coliseum.

Vanderbilt collected its first win in the NCAA Tournament in 11 seasons. The Dores advance to the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament, where they’ll take on No. 5-seed Baylor Friday at 5 p.m. CT. The game will air live on ESPNU.

The Dores got a game-high 22-point performance from junior Iyana Moore, while fellow junior Sacha Washington posted her third-straight double-double with a 16-point, 14-rebound performance against the Lions. Washington’s 16-point effort gave her 1,000 career points. She becomes the second Commodore to score her 1,000th career point this season, joining graduate student Jordyn Cambridge. Freshman Khamil Pierre had an 11-point effort in the win, while sophomore Justine Pissott rounded out a quartet of double-digit scorers with a 10-point performance.

Vanderbilt was clinging onto a four-point lead with 24 seconds remaining in the contest when Moore sank a dagger 3-pointer that gave the Dores a 69-62 lead. Vanderbilt had to fend off on final rally from the Lions, as Columbia made it a two-point contest with three seconds left to play. Sophomore Justine Pissott sank a pair of free throws to secure the Dores first NCAA Tournament victory since the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

The win gives Vandy its 23rd win of the season, which are the most wins collected by the Commodores since the 2011-12 campaign.

The Commodores led for nearly 29 minutes of game time, while Vandy shot 40.6 percent from the floor. The Dores sank six 3-point field goals, led by Moore who drained four trifectas. Vanderbilt also dished out 16 assists, led by Cambridge’s four helpers.

How It Happened
Vanderbilt jumped out to a 4-2 lead to open the First Four, but Columbia responded with six-straight points to go up 8-4 going into the first media timeout. Columbia extended its lead out to 13-8 after a 3-pointer, but Moore responded with a trifecta of her own to make it a 13-11 contest with 2:50 left in the opening stanza. Vanderbilt pulled even with the Lions at the end of the opening stanza, as Washington hit a buzzer-beating layup to knot the contest up at 13-13 after 10 minutes of play.

Pierre gave the Dores a lead to open the second frame to give Vandy a 15-13 lead, but Columbia answered with a 3-pointer that put the Lions back up 16-15. Vanderbilt got a pair of free throws from Pierre and a 3-pointer from Cambridge to reclaim a 20-16 lead. The Lions nailed a jumper at the 5:11 mark that tied the game up at 24-all. The Dores would not allow another Columbia field goal for the remainder of the quarter. Vanderbilt ended the second frame on a 12-2 run, only allowing a pair of free throws, as the Dores took a 36-26 lead into the locker room.

Columbia scored the first four points of the third quarter to force Vanderbilt to take a timeout holding a 36-30 advantage. Pissott sank a 3-pointer coming out of the break that put the Dores back up by nine. The Lions chipped away at Commodore lead, as Columbia made it a 45-43 game at the 3:46 mark of the third. Vandy closed the frame on an 8-3 spurt to put the Dores up 53-46 going into the fourth.

Pissott roll off four-straight points to open the final stanza, which gave Vanderbilt a double-figure lead at 56-46 with 8:42 left to play. Columbia fought back and made it a four-point contest at 56-52 at the 7:37 mark. A 3-pointer from Moore put the Commodores back up by 10 points at 64-54, but the Lions counter-punched with an 8-2 run of their own to make it a 66-62 game with 1:46 left to play. The Dores got a clutch 3-pointer from Moore with 24 seconds left to play that pushed the Vandy’s lead to 69-64. Pissott sank a pair of free with three seconds left to secure the program’s first NCAA Tournament win in 11 years with a 72-68 victory.

Head Coach Shea Ralph on the Result
“I’m going to try to keep this short and sweet. We’ve got to get back and get some rest. First of all, I want to congratulate Columbia on a great season. I know we are all really excited as coaches and teams to be in the NCAA Tournament. So, congratulations to them. Second of all, congratulations to my team, my players, for grinding it out. We are not just happy to be here. We have a purpose. And today was the first step in that purpose. We prepared all year for this moment. This was our goal from the moment we got together in June and I’m excited for my players that we get to keep dancing.”

Up Next
Vanderbilt advances to the first round of the NCAA Tournament, as the No. 12-seeded Commodores will take on No. 5 seed Baylor. Tipoff against the Bears is set for 5 p.m. CT on ESPNU.

Dore Notes
– Vanderbilt picks up its first NCAA Tournament win in 11 seasons, as the Dores’ last March Madness win came in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament with a 60-54 victory over Saint Joseph’s in Bridgeport, Connecticut
– Sacha Washington recorded her ninth double-double of the season with a 16-point, 15-rebound performance against the Lions
– It is Washington’s third-straight game with a double-double, while it is her 22nd career double-double performance
– Washington scored her 1,000th career point in the First Four win, as she now has exactly 1,000 career points
– Washington is the 41st Commodore to score 1,000 career points at Vanderbilt
– Iyana Moore extended her double-digit scoring streak to six games with a 22-point performance
– Moore has now scored 10-plus points in 12 of her last 14 games
– Khamil Pierre scored double-digits for the 13th time this season with an 11-point effort against Columbia
– Jordyn Cambridge moved into eighth on the SEC’s all-time steals list, as she now has 347 career steals, moving past LSU’s Pokey Chatman (346; 1987-91)
– Cambridge moved past Rhonda Blades to move into 37th on Vanderbilt’s all-time scoring list with 1,022 career points

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