Racing Into Round 2

Career-high 24 points for Jordyn Cambridge fuels Vandy to win over Murray State in the WNIT

by Chad Bishop


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt got a career-high 24 points from Jordyn Cambridge and dominated in the second half en route to a 73-47 victory over visiting Murray State in the first round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament at Memorial Gymnasium.

The Commodores (15-18) advance to face Liberty (28-4) in the second round at 7 p.m. Monday at Memorial Gymnasium.

“It meant everything in the world to me,” Cambridge said of the win. “This being the first postseason since I’ve been here, I’m just super grateful. I’m just super grateful for my teammates and my coaches for helping us get here. I’m excited for this moment.”

Cambridge, who also had nine rebounds and six assists, fueled Vanderbilt from the outset while her teammates came to life over the final two quarters. Sacha Washington and Iyana Moore each added 16 in Vanderbilt’s first postseason victory since the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

Vanderbilt held a 13-point lead going into the final quarter and never really allowed the visitors to sniff a comeback. That lead ballooned to the final margin.

Murray State ended its season at 22-10 and got 13 points from Macey Turley.

“It’s so much fun to coach this group,” Vanderbilt head coach Shea Ralph said. “I really, really wanted us to have an opportunity to play in the postseason, so the fact that we got it was exhilarating. We had a week to prepare and come together and be the best versions of ourselves (Thursday).”

Cambridge fueled Vandy’s solid start by scoring seven of the Dores’ first 11 points less than five minutes into the contest. She would finish with 12 points after the first 10 minutes, and Vandy held a slim 20-17 edge going into the second period.

A Cambridge dish to Washington in the paint early in the second quarter put Vanderbilt up 24-17. The Racers put together a 7-2 run to get within striking distance, and then Bria Sanders-Woods finally tied the game with a layup at 26-all.

Vandy would suffer through a scoreless drought of 4:45 while Murray State climbed back even. The Commodores shot 4-for-17 from the field in the second quarter and had to have felt thankful to be tied 28-28 going into the locker room.

Murray State began the second half on a 7-1 run to take a 35-29 lead after Lex Mayes drained a 3 from the right side. Vanderbilt responded with a 7-0 run of its own, capped by a Cambridge triple, to sneak back ahead 36-35 with five minutes to go in the frame.

A pair of Yaubryon Chambers layups sandwiched around another Cambridge triple extended the run to 14-0 and the lead to 43-35 with 3:13 to go. Four straight Moore points from there put the Dores up an even 10 points at 47-37.

All told, Vandy outscored Murray State 24-13 in the penultimate period and took a commanding 55-42 lead into the final 10 minutes.

“It really started with our defense and we knew that,” Washington said. “We hadn’t played our defense in the first half. So we just gathered and we talked about it and made sure that we smothered peopled on defense so offensively we could create.

“I think that’s what we did during the third quarter.”

Vanderbilt ended the game on a 44-12 run after trailing 35-29 in the third quarter.

  • Vanderbilt had nine players available for Thursday’s contest and all nine played.
  • Vandy is now 5-3 all-time against Murray State with the last meeting coming in 2000.
  • Cambridge now has 122 steals, the second-most in a single Vanderbilt season. Deborah Denton is first with 123.
  • Cambridge is eighth in Vanderbilt history with 227 career steals. Jackie Cowan is seventh with 235.
  • Shea Ralph (15) is tied with Joe Pepper for the second-most wins in a inaugural coaching season at Vanderbilt. Jim Foster and Melanie Balcomb each won 22 in their respective first campaigns.
  • Attendance on Thursday as announced as 1,233.

— Chad Bishop covers Vanderbilt for
Follow him @MrChadBishop.