New Season, New Offense, Same Mission

Commodores preparing for 2020-21 campaign

by Chad Bishop

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Much of the personnel for the 2020-21 Commodores will be familiar.

The style of play? Excitingly different.

“This new system, I love it. It’s really one of my favorite offenses I’ve ever played in by any coach,” Vanderbilt sophomore Koi Love said. “This type of system that we’re in now, it just exposes what more I can do and puts my teammates in better positions.

“I just think you’re going to see a very well-rounded team. Everyone can do everything.”

Love is part of a large group of returning student-athletes for Vanderbilt poised to take the Dores to the next level. Head coach Stephanie White has given them the keys to a new offensive attack which should allow Vandy to be fast and frenzied with multiple lineups.

White’s squad began practice on Oct. 14 looking to continue to perfect its new system as it works toward starting the 2020-21 season.

“I think this new system is not just on set plays, but more of us being creative and being able to create our own shot and being able to create open shots for other players,” Vandy senior guard Chelsie Hall said. “I’m able to drive in and kick it out to our shooters and just get everybody open. Right now we’re in practice learning to jell with each other and finding each other on the court. I think it’s going to be fun to watch – it’s fun to play in so I’m excited.”

Along with Love and Hall, Vanderbilt brings back Jordyn Cambridge, Brinae Alexander, Yaubryon Chambers, Demi Washington, Kyndall Golden, Kiara Pearl and Kaylon Smith – all of whom contributed in some form or fashion doing the 2019-20 campaign. Graduate transfer Enna Pehadzic joined the program from South Florida.

Those Commodores will be looking to improve on a 14-16 record last season.

“Yes we have experience, but now we’re playing a new system offensively and learning how to play with one another,” White said. “A lot of what we’re doing is predicated on playing together and learning one another.

“They’re picking it up quickly. They’re doing a really good job of doing that. Now it’s just continuing to get comfortable with one another.”

Vanderbilt doubled its win total in ’19-20 after a seven-win season the campaign before. It did that despite major injury setbacks to Alexander and Golden, among others.

Having a fully-healthy roster by season’s end is something White and staff won’t be able to control. But if the Commodores are able to have their complete compliment of student-athletes on the floor, 2020-21 could be a memorable season.

For now, it’s all about coming together before tipoff and working toward the end goal of a championship.

“The thing about where we are is that we need our players to do what they do well,” said White, who is now starting her fifth season on West End. “We don’t need anybody to play outside themselves, we need to make sure that everybody is playing within themselves and doing what they do best.

“We need the communication and energy on the defensive end of the floor. We need the glue. We’re going to have quite a few players that can be that glue this year and take ownership in that role for us. We will continue to stretch their game and continue to build on each person’s game, but to be able to play within ourselves and learn how to play within ourselves in the system is a next step that we have to take.”

Chad Bishop covers Vanderbilt for Follow him @MrChadBishop.