Clarke's scoring, late defensive stop help Vanderbilt women edge Auburn

Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 10:48pm
Staff reports

Tiffany Clarke just missed matching a career-high as Vanderbilt snapped its three-game road losing streak in the SEC.

Clarke scored 26 points, one shy of her personal best, in the Commodores' 66-61 victory over Auburn on Thursday. Vanderbilt (17-5, 5-4) entered the game having won its last two but was 0-3 in conference road games.

Clarke, a 6-foot junior, scored 18 after halftime. She was 9-of-11 from the field, 8-of-9 from the free-throw line and grabbed eight rebounds.

Her layup with 52 seconds left gave Vanderbilt a three-point lead. She fouled out seconds later on an offensive foul, which gave Auburn (11-12, 3-7) a chance to tie. Morgan Jennings’ 3-pointer with five seconds left, however, was off the mark and Elan Brown sunk two free throws to seal the victory.

“I’m proud of, first of all, getting a stop to win the game,” Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb said. “The intensity level they had to get a stop and to defend 3-point shooters ... they did it all night. Secondly, just having a confidence level they have earned in practice and that they deserve to win [Thursday].

"I felt a different level of intensity, communication and determination to win [Thursday] than I have all season on the road.”

For the first time this season, Vanderbilt went into halftime tied. The Commodores led by as many as eight in the second half but Auburn pulled within one on three occasions in the last four minutes.

Jasmine Lister scored 13 points and had six assists. Stephanie Holzer added 10 points and eight rebounds as Vanderbilt swept the season series against Auburn.

The Commodores stay on the road to play Mississippi State at 2 p.m. on Sunday.