No. 24 'Dores rout the No. 9 Gators 84-68

Feb. 12, 2009

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1st 2nd Final
UF 29 39 68
VU 37 47 84
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audio.gifPostgame radio interview – Balcomb

Stat Leaders VU UF
Points Marsh (26) Stewart (16)
Rebounds Tuomi (7) Dotson (7)
Assists Marsh (5) Brooks (4)
Steals Risper (3) Thompson (3)
Blocks Mooney (2) Henry (4)
Season Stats | 2008-09 Media Guide | SEC Stats
Next Game: 02/15/09 – Georgia at VU – noon CT
Previous Game: 02/08/09 – VU 72 at UK 62

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Merideth Marsh found herself open over and over again behind the 3-point line, so her teammates kept giving her the ball.

And she rarely missed.

Marsh tied a school record with eight 3s and finished with a career-high 26 points as No. 24 Vanderbilt upset Florida (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) 84-68 Thursday night, snapping the Gators’ seven-game winning streak.

“I didn’t even know until I came out of the game,” Marsh said. “Everyone’s like, ‘We wanted you to break it.’ Of course, I shot an air ball on the last one. I mean, yeah it’s nice. … I was open. Teammates were getting me the ball, so I was feeling it and knocked it down.”

Marsh came in as the Southeastern Conference’s most accurate 3-point shooter in league play, hitting 52 percent. Marsh went 8-of-13 on 3s and tied Abi Ramsey, who also hit eight against Florida in 2005.

“She’s just really focused right now,” Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb said. “It didn’t matter if it was man or zone, she got shots man, zone and transition, all kinds of different ways. She just really shot it with confidence.”

Vanderbilt (19-6, 8-2) pulled into a tie with Florida for second in the SEC with its second win overall and fourth straight in this series. The Commodores opened the game by scoring the first 10 points and never trailed in routing the Gators.

“They came right out and set the tone, not just with knocking down those shots,” Florida coach Amanda Butler said. “Also definitely we turned the ball over. We were sloppy and just playing on our heels.”

Christina Wirth finished with 20 points, Hannah Tuomi added 17 and Jennifer Risper 12.

Sha Brooks, the SEC’s second-leading scorer, finished with seven points before fouling out for Florida (22-3, 8-2). She didn’t take a shot in the second half. Azania Stewart led the Gators with 16 points, and Steffi Sorenson had 11.

Florida, coming off a rare win against Tennessee on Sunday, missed a chance at its best start in SEC play in what is a homecoming game for Butler, who played high school ball in nearby Mt. Juliet.

Brooks, a native of Jackson, Tenn., scored 29 points in each of her previous two games and was averaging 16.4 points. This was her first game not in single digits since Dec. 10 against Coppin State. Balcomb said they wanted to make Brooks work hard for every shot before she got the ball.

“We wanted to wear her down so she was exhausted by the time she caught it and maybe couldn’t do the things she’s used to doing with the basketball,” Balcomb said.

Vanderbilt couldn’t have started much better, hitting seven of its first 11 shots from 3-point range. The Commodores, fifth in the country in shooting, shot 26-for-58 from the field — including 13-for-23 on 3s. That’s what frustrated Butler.

“It wasn’t the fact those kids knocked down shots. We expected that. The … part was how wide open they were over and over and over again. We didn’t execute on either end,” Butler said.

The Commodores led 24-7 when Wirth hit her third of four 3s in the first half with 11:49 to go.

The Gators tried to make a game of it as Brooks capped a 12-2 spurt with a layup to pull Florida to 31-25, but the Commodores led by eight at halftime. Wirth said they were tired of letting teams make runs on them and chewing up big leads this season.

“A sign of a mature team is when you can have a run and stop their run before it starts, just frustrate them. We don’t ever want them to think they’re making a comeback and can play with us,” she said.

Then Brooks picked up her third foul within the first 2 minutes, and the Gators couldn’t stay out of foul trouble.

Vandy just kept padding its lead with Marsh hitting five 3s in the second half, and the Commodores led by 27 in the final minutes.