Preview: Vanderbilt vs. Louisville

Dec. 20, 2016

Teams: Vanderbilt (10-1) vs. No. 8 Louisville (11-2)
Day, Date: Wednesday, Dec. 21
Tip-off time: 7 p.m. (CT)
Site: Memorial Gym (Nashville, Tenn.)
Radio: WNSR 560 AM / 95.9 FM
TV: SECN+ (Online: ESPN3. Link: HERE)
Game Notes: Vanderbilt Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader l Louisville Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

On the strength of a nine-game winning streak, the Vanderbilt women are beginning to create some national attention. This week, they’ll have a chance to get much more of it. The Commodores (10-1) — who have received votes in the AP Poll in each of the past three weeks — are hosting No. 8-ranked Louisville on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The Cardinals (11-2) will be the highest-ranked opponent to come to Memorial Gym since Jan. 7, 2016, when No. 2-ranked South Carolina held off the Commodores, 71-61. Here’s a closer look at Wednesday’s game.

l Update on the Commodores: The Commodores enter Wednesday’s game with hopes of extending their winning streak to 10 games. It would be only the fourth time since 2000-01 that Vanderbilt has won 10 straight games. … The Commodores’ winning streak has spanned well over a month, dating back to a 94-61 loss at Indiana on Nov. 13. … The Commodores, who are 6-0 at home this season, are led in scoring by a trio of double-digit scorers: Christa Reed is averaging a team-high 12.7 points per game, Rachel Bell is averaging 12.1 and Rebekah Dahlman is averaging 11.1. … Marqu’es Webb is Vanderbilt’s top rebounder, and ranks among the SEC’s best, with 9.3 boards per game.

l What’s trending: Here’s a look at what’s trending for Vanderbilt through the first 11 games of the season: The Commodores lead the SEC and rank sixth in the nation in 3-point accuracy at 41.7 percent. … Vanderbilt is second in the SEC and 10th in the nation in free throw percentage (78.4). … VU ranks fourth in the conference and 38th in the nation in scoring, averaging 76.5 points per game. … Vanderbilt leads the SEC in 3-pointers made per game (8.0) and total 3-pointers made (88). … VU ranks fourth in the SEC and 12th in the country in free throws made. … For the season, Vanderbilt has converted 182 free throws, which is almost as many free throws as their opponents have attempted (188).

l In elite company: Redshirt junior guard Rebekah Dahlman leads the SEC and ranks 16th in the country in free throw percentage at 91.7 percent. She also ranks 14th in the SEC at 3.4 assists per game … Senior post player Marqu’es Webb ranks fourth in the conference in rebounding at 9.3 per game. … Cierra Walker and Dahlman rank sixth and seventh, respectively, in the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.3 and 2.2.

l The lowdown on Louisville: The Cardinals, members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, come into Wednesday’s game on a five-game winning streak that started with a 69-67 overtime victory against rival Kentucky on Dec. 4. … Louisville ranks second in the nation in total assists, 10th in assists per game (19.2), fifth in total rebounds (550), and eighth in turnover margin. … The Cardinals have three double-digit scorers, led by Asia Durr at 17.4 points per game. Myisha Hines-Allen is averaging 11.2 points per game and Mariya Moore is averaging 11.2.

l Series History: Wednesday’s game is the 13th all-time meeting between the teams, with Vanderbilt owning an 8-4 lead in the series. … The most recent matchup between the teams came during the 2011 NCAA Tournament, when Louisville beat Vanderbilt 81-62 in Cincinnati. … Vanderbilt has won five straight against Louisville in Nashville, with the most recent meeting coming during the 2005-06 season, when the Commodores posted a 76-64 victory at Memorial Gym.

l Mad success at Memorial Gym: The Commodores have won 16 straight non-conference games on their home floor, dating back to a loss to Dayton on Dec. 21, 2014. … Vanderbilt has gone 46-2 against non-conference foes on its home floor since the start of the 2010-11 season.

l Super substitutions: The Commodores are getting plenty of production off the bench this season. That’s been especially true in the past three games, when the Vanderbilt reserves have outscored the opponents’ bench by a combined total of 103-43 (including 30-4 against ETSU, 23-4 against Tulane and 50-35 against Tennessee Tech). For the season, VU’s bench has outscored the opponents’ bench in nine of the first 11 games.

l On the radar: The Commodores have been among the teams receiving votes in the Associated Press Top-25 poll in each of the past three weeks. It is the first time since the preseason poll of the 2015-16 season that Vanderbilt has been in the “receiving votes” category. Vanderbilt was last ranked in the AP poll in Week 15 of the 2013-14 season, when the Commodores were ranked No. 16.

l December dominance: By winning their first six games this month, the Commodores have extended their tradition of December success. They’ve won 13 straight December games — dating back to a loss to Dayton on Dec. 21, 2014 — and have posted a 30-3 record in December since 2011.

l Fresh and Re-Fresh: Vanderbilt has captured SEC Freshman of the Week honors twice this month, with Erin Whalen and Kayla Overbeck each winning the honor. Overbeck was given the award on Dec. 13 after scoring 18 points and pulling down 13 rebounds — establishing new career highs in both categories — during Vanderbilt’s 80-72 road win over ETSU. Overbeck went 8-of-9 from the foul line in the win and logged 29 minutes of playing time while notching her first career double-double. Whalen was named the SEC Freshman of the Week the previous week after averaging 17 points per game and shooting 59 percent from the floor — making 16-of-27 shots — during Vanderbilt’s wins over Air Force, SIUE and Tulane.

l Milestone for Marqu’es Senior post player Marqu’es Webb notched her 500th career rebound in the first quarter of Vanderbilt’s win against Air Force on Dec. 2. … Webb ranks seventh among active SEC players in career rebounds with 542 (through Tuesday).

l Last time out: Christa Reed scored 25 points, Erin Whalen added 23 and LeaLea Carter had 18 — new career highs for all three — to help the Commodores extend their winning streak to nine games with an 89-57 victory over Tennessee Tech on Sunday afternoon. Whalen also pulled down a career-best 11 rebounds for Vanderbilt (10-1). Yaktavia Hickson led all scorers with 31 points for Tennessee Tech (3-8). The Commodores played much of the second half without senior star Marqu’es Webb, who was taken off the floor on a stretcher after a collision. The extent of Webb’s injury was not known after the game, and head coach Stephanie White said the team would have more information on Monday after Webb was evaluated. Vanderbilt owned a 17-16 lead after the first quarter, but then dominated the next 10 minutes, outscoring Tennessee Tech 28-6 to carry a 45-22 lead into the half. Vanderbilt, which came into the game as the SEC leaders in 3-point percentage and ranked No. 2 in the conference in free throw percentage, went 18-of-21 from the foul line (85.7 percent) and 7-of-19 (36.8 percent) from 3-point range in the win. .

l Most recent meeting vs. Louisville: Paced by 19 points from point guard Shoni Schimmel, the Cardinals beat Vanderbilt 81-62 in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Jasmine Lister scored a team-high 13 points for Vanderbilt. Louisville shot 60 percent from the field and went 13 of 14 from the free-throw line in the victory. The Commodores used a 12-0 run in the second half to pull within 49-42 with 12 minutes to go. But the Cardinals answered with a 13-0 run to build a 62-42 with 8:11 left.

l This and that: Vanderbilt has three players who rank among the SEC’s Top-10 in career 3-pointers among active players: Rebekah Dahlman ranks sixth with 116, Christa Reed ranks ninth with 90, and Rachel Bell is 10th with 86. … The Commodores finished November with a 5-1 record, marking the first time since the 2011 that Vanderbilt emerged from November with less than two losses. … The Commodores made 14 3-pointers against Kennesaw State in the season opener (finishing 14-of-26), which represents the most 3-pointers by an SEC team in a game this season.

l New leader: Stephanie White is in her first season with the Commodores after being named head coach in May. Becoming just the fifth head coach in the program’s history, White replaced former head coach Melanie Balcomb, who resigned in April after 14 seasons with the team. White came to Vanderbilt after spending two seasons as head coach of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever. She led the team to the playoffs each season, including guiding the Fever to the 2015 WNBA Finals in her rookie season to become the first rookie coach in league history to take a team to the finals. During her playing career, she was a standout at Purdue, where she earned national player of the year honors after helping lead the Boilermakers to the 1999 NCAA championship. Her coach that season was Carolyn Peck, who now serves on White’s staff at Vanderbilt.

l Dancy with the stars: Junior guard Myka Dancy played a significant role in Vanderbilt’s win over SIUE on Dec. 3. Dancy played a career-high 13 minutes in the victory and scored a career-high five points. She was in the starting lineup to open the second half, and played the entire third quarter. Dancy finished 2-of-5 from the floor and also added a free throw.

l Looking ahead: After Wednesday’s game, the Commodores’ next action is Dec. 28 at Memphis.

(Note: Conference and national rankings in the game preview are through Tuesday afternoon)