Lid-Lifter on Tap

Dores travel to WKU, host Samford to open season

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Commodores launch Year 2 of the Shea Ralph coaching era with two games next week.

Vanderbilt opens the 2022-23 season on the road against Western Kentucky on Monday at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Kentucky, at 6:30 p.m. CT (ESPN+). The Dores return home Thursday to host Samford in Memorial Gymnasium at 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network+).

Vanderbilt won 16 games in 2021-22 and reached the third round of the WNIT. Seven players return to the squad, led by sophomore forward Sacha Washington. The 6-foot-2 Washington averaged a team-leading 6.6 rebounds and totaled 19 blocked shots while scoring 7.6 points per game last season.

The Dores have welcomed graduate transfers Ciaja Harbison (Saint Louis) and Marnelle Garraud (Boston College) to the backcourt.

Harbison, a 5-foot-6 guard, will be making her Vanderbilt debut in her home state. The Louisville native finished her Saint Louis career as the program’s second-leading all-time scorer (1,688 points) while her per-game scoring average of 15.9 is third in school history. Harbison ranks in the top 5 at Saint Louis in career assists (403), steals (156) and free-throw percentage (80.7).

Garraud started 102 games at Boston College, finishing her four-year career with 944 points, 343 rebounds, 373 assists and 202 steals. As a senior last season, the Massachusetts native averaged 7.6 points, 3.7 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game.

Along with Harbison and Garraud, freshmen Jada Brown, Ryanne Allen and Amauri Williams will be making their regular season debuts in a Vanderbilt uniform.

Sidelined by Injury
Senior guard Jordyn Cambridge and sophomore guard Iyana Moore will miss the 2022-23 season while recovering from injuries, as will senior forward Kaylon Smith.

Cambridge, a two-time All-SEC Defensive Team selection, suffered a torn Achilles tendon. Moore, an SEC All-Freshman team selection, suffered a torn ACL.

Cambridge, a do-everything standout, averaged 10.7 points and 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists last season. The Nashville native set the program’s single-season steals record and led the nation with 129.

Moore was second on the team in scoring last season (12.7 points/game) while leading the team in 3-pointers made (79), 3-point shooting percentage (38.2) and free-throw shooting percentage (80.2).

The reliable Smith, who suffered a torn Achilles tendon, started all 35 games for the Dores last season.

Opponents Scouting Report
Western Kentucky was picked to finish sixth in the preseason Conference USA coaches poll. WKU finished last season with a 16-14 record, including 8-10 in CUSA, and lost in the second round of the CUSA Tournament.

The Lady Toppers return four starters from last season, led by a strong group of underclassmen.

Sophomore Mya Meredith, who was named the 2021-22 Conference USA Freshman of the Year, averaged 12.7 points and 5.1 rebounds to finish second on the team in both categories. Sophomore Alexis Mead was third in scoring at 10.9 points while leading the team with 3.4 assists per game. Freshman Acacia Hayes, a Murfreesboro native, scored 22 points in WKU’s exhibition win over Lindsey Wilson.

The Lady Toppers are known for their long-distance shooting. They made 225 3-pointers last season, which is the second most in program history, and tied the single-game school record for 3-pointers twice with 14.Samford is looking to win the program’s third Southern Conference regular season title in the last four years under head coach Carley Kuhns.

Led by senior guard Andrea Cournoyer and sophomore center Sussy Ngulefac, Samford was picked to finish third in the Southern Conference preseason coaches poll. The Bulldogs finished 13-17, including 7-7 in the SoCon, last season.

Cournoyer, a unanimous All-SoCon first-team selection in 2021-22 and the 2020-21 SoCon Player of the Year, led Samford in scoring and ranked second in the league last season at 16.3 points per game. The Louisiana native averaged 4.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while leading the SoCon in steals (2.6).

Ngulefac was named SoCon Co-Freshman of the Year last season. The Georgia native ranked second on the team in scoring (9.5) and rebounding (4.5) while shooting a SoCon-leading 63.9 percent from the floor.

Vanderbilt students will continue to receive free admission to all home basketball games. In addition, single-game sales, mini-plans and group ticket options are available. View the promotional schedule here.