Vanderbilt Dominates Duquesne 92-60 12-6-03

Vanderbilt Dominates Duquesne 92-60 12-6-03


Vanderbilt played its most complete game of the season tonight at Memorial Gym, downing the Duquesne Dukes 92-60, to improve to a perfect 6-0 on the season and extend its home non-conference winning streak to 40 games (39 games at Memorial Gym and one contest at the Gaylord Entertainment Center). The Commodores were led by senior Jenni Benningfield, who finished with 19 points and five rebounds.  She has now scored in double figures in every contest since the Black and Gold faced Liberty (eight tallies) in last year’s NCAA Tournament.  VU’s 92 points were a season-high.

Vanderbilt’s senior All-America candidate, Jenni Benningfield, dominated the game’s early stages as the 6’3″ forward bombed in a long three from the top of the key, converted an old-fashioned three-point play and drew a charge on a Duquesne drive as VU roared out to a quick 12-0 lead. Four Duquesne fouls in the first three minutes kept the Vanderbilt momentum going. Senior Hillary Hager contributed two threes and junior Ashley Earley five points as the VU spurt continued.  The Commodores led 20-8 with 12:33 remaining in the first stanza. 

Unlike in other games to start this season, the Commodores never took their foot off the offensive accelerator against the Dukes as a 12 point lead briskly ballooned to 17 points with 7:45 left, following two straight lay-ups by freshman Carla Thomas.  An Earley left-handed lay-in and a Dee Davis fast break deuce off a Duquesne turnover forced Dukes coach Dan Durkin to ask for a 30-second timeout with 6:59 to play trailing 32-11.  Vanderbilt held the Red and Blue, who came into today’s contest shooting around 40% per game, to only five points over nearly 11 minutes of game action, as Duquesne shot only 27.6% from the field in the first half.

Six Vanderbilt free throws, over the final 2:48, helped send VU to the locker room with its largest first half lead of the season at 44-24.  The 20-point deficit at halftime was the second largest of the year for DU as the Dukes trailed Toledo by 21 at the half in their first loss of the season.  Benningfield led the ‘Dores with 12 points, Earley registered nine points and Hager eight first-half tallies. Dee Davis chipped in with six first half assists, more than the entire Duquesne team. The five Vanderbilt starters, who came into today’s game accounting for 81% of Commodore scoring, had all but six first half points.

The 2,251 fans in attendance were treated to Frisbee catching dogs (one in a Superman outfit) at halftime. The canine exhibition segued into a second half Commodore offensive exhibition, as Vanderbilt outscored Duquesne 48-36 in the final stanza.

            In the second stanza, the Commodore offense continued find success. A 9-0 run that featured back-to-back three point buckets by freshman Dee Davis covered three minutes of game time and would shut the Dukes down for good. Vanderbilt led 86-54 on a Jenn Hall free throw with just under three minutes to play, posting their biggest lead this season at any point in a game. Vanderbilt shot an incredible 55.9% from the field from the game, its highest mark this season.

            With the appearance of sophomore Erica Grimaldi on the floor at the final media timeout, every available Commodore played in today’s game and all but two registered a bucket. Freshman Caroline Williams saw her first action as a Commodore following an extended injury period for a meniscal tear in her left knee. She finished with one rebound, one assist, and a steal in 11 minutes of play.

For the second time this year, four Black and Gold players scored in double figures due in large part to VU’s inside presence. Davis, from Cincinnati, Ohio, finished with a career-high 11 assists and matched her career-high in points with 14 for the first double-double of her career. Hager finished with 12 points and tied a career-high in rebounds with nine. Earley, a junior from Memphis, Tennessee, scored 15 points to go with six rebounds.

            The members of this year’s “Super Six” recruiting class continued to shine throughout the second half, as freshman Carla Thomas tied a career-high in points with six. Sophomore Nicole Jules equaled a career-high in rebounds with three, rookie forward Jenn Hall matched a career-best in rebounds with two and Katie Antony, a freshman from Anacoco, La., tied a career mark with five rebounds.

            Senior guard Candace Futrell led the Dukes with 14 points after entering today’s contest hitting for 21.3 a contest.  She moved into eighth place on the all-time Duquesne career scoring list with 1,189 tallies and also led the Dukes in rebounds (eight), and had two steals in 31 minutes of play.

The Black and Gold are now off until next week when the ‘Dores will head west to Memphis to matchup with the Tigers on Thursday, Dec. 11.  Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.