Later, Gators

Vandy secures first win over ranked opponent since 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Senior night for Brinae Alexander, Asha Taylor and Jordyn Cambridge will be forever memorable as Vanderbilt defeated No. 15/21 Florida 63-59 inside Memorial Gymnasium on Thursday.

On a night surrounded by 1,783 of the Vanderbilt faithful, the home team notched its first win over a ranked opponent in the Shea Ralph era and first win against Florida since 2014-15 at home. Vandy’s last win over a ranked opponent was March 1, 2020, when it knocked off No. 15/16 Kentucky.

On Thursday, Cambridge netted the first points of the night with a driving layup. Florida responded quickly with a second chance layup from Jordyn Merritt.

The Gators began a run and pushed the Commodores into a four-point hole. But Vanderbilt battled back into contention with a 14-3 run to end the period with the lead at 16-9.

The Gators held the home team to 15 points and scored 18 of their own in the following stanza. Contributions from Sacha Washington, Kaylon Smith, Cambridge, Yaubryon Chambers and De’Mauri Flournoy enabled Vanderbilt to enter halftime with a 31-27 lead

Florida’s second half efforts started with Kiara Smith’s seven points in the third period as she led the way for the Gators’ rally. The visitors held the Commodores to 17 points while putting up 19 of their own in the meantime.

Entering the final period, Vandy held the lead at 55-49. Scoring was sporadic for both teams as the defensive schemes heightened. The teams combined for a total of 10 steals.

The Commodores maintained their energy down the stretch even as the Gators closed the gap to two points. But clutch free throws by freshman Iyana Moore sealed the deal for Vanderbilt.

In just her second career start, Washington, a freshman, notched her fifth double-double of the season as she led the Commodores in both points (16) and rebounds (11). Cambridge’s five steals cemented her place as No. 10 in program history for career steals with 213.

Joining Washington in double figures was Alexander with 11, Cambridge with 14 and Moore with 10 points.

Vanderbilt edged Florida in points from turnovers (28) and points in the paint (38) while getting strong contributions from the bench which produced 16 points.

This game saw 12 lead changes and six ties with Vanderbilt maintaining control of the contest throughout the course of nearly 28 minutes.

The Gators ended the game with three in double figures, led by Smith’s 18 points.

Vanderbilt’s final regular-season game is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at Alabama.