The Commodores, at 4-1, are off to their best start since the 2016-17 season. They return to action at 6 p.m. Monday at Tennessee State (1-3).
“I’m really proud of this group. We’ve been able to challenge them and they’ve responded in back-to-back games in the third quarter,” Vanderbilt coach Stephanie White said. “We’ve established that we can rely on our defense. We have a lot of confidence in our defense. We have a lot of trust in one another on the defensive end of the floor.
“We continue to be a work in progress on the offensive end of the floor really finding continuity and inconsistency. But at the end of the day, for this group to put themselves in position to win ballgames the way we have has been huge.”
Vandy finished with 26 points off 25 Furman turnovers. The Paladins (3-2) shot just 35.6 percent from the floor.
“You can frustrated faces from other teams,” Alexander said about Vandy’s defense. “But also you know that when we get a couple steals and we get a run going that’s even more momentum for us to just keep going and keep pushing.”
Vanderbilt led 18-13 after one quarter thanks, in part, to an 8-0 run late in the period. The Commodores trailed 8-6 before an Alexander putback after a missed free throw made it 11-8. That was followed by an Alexander 3 making it 14-8.
Vandy began the second frame with nine straight points thanks to four in a row out of the hands of Fasoula, a pull-up jumper from Cambridge and a 3 by Alexander. The Commodores settled for a 36-26 lead at the break after scoring just two points over the final 4:08 of the second quarter.
Furman had 15 turnovers in the first half but led the rebounding battle 17-16. Vandy shot 45.2 percent from the floor the in the first 20 minutes.
Vanderbilt opened the second half with a 8-0 run to get get up by 18. Fasoula, Cambridge and Chelsie Hall all scored during the spurt helping Vandy making all three of its shots to start the quarter.
The Commodores would lead by as many as 27 in the third quarter before they coasted from there.
“We spent a lot of time over the summer working on (defense),” White said. “We saw that we had the potential to be a great defensive team.
“Now we still have a lot of gaps, but we make up for it because we continue with multiple levels of effort and because we have that length and athleticism. And we have some players that have really good instincts.”