WBB opens season with impressive win

Nov. 2, 2008

Box Score

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The start of a new season meant the re-introduction of many familiar faces Sunday, as the Vanderbilt women’s basketball team opened the 2008 preseason with a convincing 98-40 victory over visiting Tusculum College in exhibition action at Memorial Gymnasium.

The Commodores returned all five starters from last season’s 25-9 team that advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16, after winning a school-record 11 Southeastern Conference games. Division II Tusculum, which won the SAC championship last season and also returned five starters, was overmatched early, falling behind 25-2 after scoring the game’s first two points on free throws.

All 11 active Commodores scored during the game, including four players in double-figures, led by senior Christina Wirth’s 20 points. The first-team All-Southeastern Conference honoree connected on 7-of-10 field goals in 25 minutes of action.

In her first collegiate action, freshman Tia Gibbs had an impressive debut. The Louisville product scored 14 points, including 3-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc, in only 14 minutes of action.

Fellow freshman Jordan Coleman was unable to play Sunday, recovering from a leg injury. Juniors Amber Norton and Lauren Lueders were also held out of the contest with injuries.

Sophomore Hannah Tuomi and junior Jessica Mooney also scored in double-figures for the Commodores. Tuomi had 13 points and six rebounds, while Mooney contributed 10 points and five assists.

Senior Jennifer Risper led all players in three statistical categories, pulling down eight rebounds, dishing out seven assists and grabbing six steals. In all, the Commodores had 21 steals on the afternoon while allowing only 11 made field goals.

As a team, Vanderbilt shot 57.4 percent from the field (35-of-61). The Commodores have ranked among the NCAA’s 10-best shooting teams for each of the past seven seasons.

Tusculum was led by Brittni Oliver’s 11 points. The Pioneers committed a total of 33 turnovers against the Commodores’ pressure defense.

Vanderbilt continues preseason practices throughout this week, culminating in an exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 7, versus “Love and Basketball.” The contest is scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m. CT inside Memorial Gym.