Women’s basketball is elevated to intercollegiate status. The first partial scholarship is awarded to Karen McGinn of Nashville’s Father Ryan High School. Joe Pepper, who coached at St. Henry’s Elementary school, is named the teams first head coach. The 1977-78 team still holds the SEC record for rebound average with 50.8 a game.
Ann Morrow led Vanderbilt in scoring with 14.4 points a game, while Teresa Lawrence was the leading rebounder averaging 9.7 a game. Karen McGinn totaled the season-high 26 points versus Alabama, while Lawrence numbered the season-high 19 rebounds against Florida.
Sheila Johansson from Mt. Juliet is the first full-scholarship athlete. Cathy Bender, also from Mt. Juliet is the second full-scholarship athlete. Teresa Lawrence is selected the school’s first Female Athlete of the Year. Joe Pepper finishes his career at Vanderbilt with a record of 38-39 in three seasons.
Phil Lee is named Vanderbilt’s second head coach. Lee came to Nashville from Division III Christopher Newport College in Newport News, Va.
The team wins 20 games in a season for the first time. The team advances to the AIAW National Tournament, but is defeated in the first round. The NCAA takes over jurisdiction of women’s athletics and the AIAW is phased out. Harriet Brumfield is the first VU player named to the All-SEC team.
12-14 Overall, 2-6 SEC (4th)
Vanderbilt places fourth in the SEC East regular season and advances to the first round of the SEC Tournament.
23-9 Overall, 2-6 SEC (6th)
The Lady Commodores advance to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. Vanderbilt claims the NWIT national championship, the first Vanderbilt team to win a national title.
14-13 Overall, 2-6 SEC (8th)
Vanderbilt advances to the SEC tournament and is defeated in the second round.
22-9 Overall, 4-5 SEC (7th)
Vanderbilt finishes the season ranked No. 20 in the AP Poll. The team advances to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament and receives its first invitation to the NCAA Tournament. The Lady Commodores lost in the first round of the Midwest Regional. Jackie Cowan was named Female Athlete of the Year.
23-10 Overall, 4-5 SEC (6th)
Vanderbilt finishes the season ranked No. 18 in the AP Poll. The team advances to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament, receives an NCAA bid, and loses in the first round in the East regional. Karen Booker receives the Dr. Jim Robbins award, voted on by all students for the top senior athlete. She is the only female to ever win the award. Booker is also named the Vanderbilt Female Athlete of the Year.
18-10 Overall, 4-5 SEC (7th)
Wendy Scholtens is named SEC Freshman of the Year.
21-8 Overall, 5-4 SEC (4th)
The team finishes fourth in the SEC to tie its highest finish in the league. Vanderbilt was ranked in the USA Today poll for a majority of the season. The team advances to the NCAA tournament and is defeated in first round action of the East Regional. Wendy Scholtens earns District IX Kodak All-America honors and is voted Female Athlete of the Year.
23-11 Overall, 5-4 SEC (5th)
Vanderbilt advances to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament (Mideast). Wendy Scholtens is the first Vanderbilt player to be named to the Kodak All-America team. Donna Harris is named SEC Freshman of the Year.
19-12 Overall, 4-5 SEC (Tied 5th)
Vanderbilt is ranked No. 11 in preseason polls. Phil Lee resigns following a first-round loss in the SEC tournament. Lee owned an overall record of 207-126. Assistant Coach Ada Gee serves as interim head coach for three games. The team advances to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament (Mideast). Wendy Scholtens is named Female Athlete of the Year and becomes the first woman to have her jersey retired. (The only other in VU history is Clyde Lee, 1966).
22-9 Overall, 6-5 SEC (Tied 4th)
Jim Foster, from St. Joseph’s, is named Vanderbilt’s third head coach. Foster changes the nickname Lady Commodores to Commodores. VU advances to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament (East Regional). The team finishes the season ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll.
30-3 Overall, 9-2 SEC (Tied 2nd)
The team finishes the season with a school best 30-3 record and SEC Tournament championship. The team claims the championship title at the Midwest Regional and advances to the Final Four in Atlanta, Ga. Vanderbilt achieved the school’s first No. 1 ranking on January 5. The team recorded its first sellout 16 days in advance of the Tennessee game on Jan. 30. The Commodores finish the season ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll and No. 4 in the USA Today Poll. Heidi Gillingham becomes the second Commodore player to be named to the Kodak All-America Team.
25-8 Overall, 9-2 SEC (2nd)
Vanderbilt advances to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen after finishing as SEC Tournament runnerup. The Commodores finish the season ranked 12th in AP and 13th in the USA Today polls. The team plays in the inaugural Hall of Fame Game in Jackson, Tenn. Heidi Gillingham is the first athlete to be elected Homecoming Queen and also earns Female Athlete of the Year honors. Julie Powell is named Academic Athlete of the Year.
28-7 Overall, 8-3 SEC (Tied 2nd)
The Commodores claim their second SEC Tournament championship and advance to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament (West Region). The team ranks in the AP Top 10 throughout the season and finishes the year 6th in the AP and 5th in the USA Today polls.
23-7 Overall, 7-4 SEC (Tied 3rd)
Vanderbilt advances to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. The largest crowd ever, 15,187, is on hand for the Feb. 25 game with Tennessee. Sheri Sam becomes the third Commodore to be named to the prestigious Kodak All-America Team. Sam is selected to play on the College All-Star team which faced the USA National Team. Michelle Palmisano receives the Bud McWhorter Award for the top SEC female athlete. Sam and Mara Cunningham are drafted by the American Basketball League.
20-11 Overall, 6-6 SEC (6th)
The Commodores advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament (West Region). The team wins at least 20 games for the sixth consecutive season. Vanderbilt won its first first-round NCAA road game with a 74-62 win over Washington and defeated higher-ranked Kansas (51-44) in the second round to advance to the regional semifinals. The Commodores claimed the MCI-First American Classic title with Lisa Ostrom earning MVP honors. Senior Michelle Palmisano set the VU record for most 3-pointers in a season with 83. Angela Gorsica and Palmisano both graduated Summa Cum Laude with Palmisano earning the Founder’s Medal for the highest GPA in the Engineering School. The Commodores led the SEC in scoring defense (59.6), field goal percentage defense (35.5), 3-point percentage defense (25.6), 3-point percentage (36.1) and blocked shots (5.5). The Commodores were ranked throughout the season in both polls finishing #17 in the USA Today poll.
20-9 Overall, 9-5 SEC (4th)
The Commodores advance to the NCAA Tournament for the 12th time, including 10 in a row. The team wins at least 20 games for the seventh straight season. Head Coach Jim Foster earns his 400th career victory with a 91-51 win over North Texas. In a span of eight days, VU ends two losing streaks. First, the Commodores snap its eight-game losing streak at Oxford, Miss. (Ole Miss), which dated back to the 1980-81 season; and second, the Commodores defeat Auburn for the first time in three seasons. The Commodores won the MCI Prepaid/First American Classic with Na’Sheema Hillmon earning MVP honors. With a 13-1 start, the Commodores record their third best start in team history. Ashley Smith leads the SEC in assists per game with 6.7, 13th in the nation. She also totals 193 assists, second on the VU all-time single season list and tops by a freshman. Smith is named to the Women’s Basketball News Service Freshman All-American First Team. Lisa Ostrom and Hillmon earn All-SEC honors, while Beth Ostendorf, Paige Redman, Candice Story and Ostrom are named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. Vanderbilt ranks 7th in the nation in average home attendance figures with 6,096 fans a game. Hillmon becomes the 18th Commodore to reach 1,000 career points totaling 1,295 placing her 12th on the all-time scoring list. Ostrom, Hillmon, Nettie Respondek and Danielle Louis all receive their degrees at May Commencement. Hillmon is selected to play in the ABL for the Nashville Noise. The Commodores are ranked throughout the season in both polls, finishing the season at #18 in the AP Top 25 and #25 in USA Today/ESPN Polls.