Jence Rhoads had 14 points and four assists as Vanderbilt defeated Florida 66-58 Thursday in a matchup of teams jockeying for positions in the Southeastern Conference standings.
Six teams, including Vanderbilt and Florida, started the day between a half game and a game and a half of Kentucky for second place in the conference standings. Kentucky held its ground with a victory over Ole Miss.
The top four at the end of the regular season earn byes in the first round of the conference tournament.
The Commodores (17-6, 6-4 in the SEC) won their third straight after having dropped four of their first six to open conference play. They led 34-26 at halftime and never allowed the Lady Gators (12-10, 5-4) to get any closer than six points over the final 20 minutes.
They led by as many as 17 before Florida closed the contest with an 18-9 run.
Rhoads put Vanderbilt ahead to stay when she scored six straight points in a span of 2:29 of the first half. Her jumper with 11:11 to go in the half made it 16-15, and two more jumpers stretched the lead to 20-15.
Lauren Lueders added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Commodores, who forced 11 first-half turnovers and held Florida to four 3-point baskets on 17 attempts for the game.
Vanderbilt faces first-place Tennessee, 8 p.m. Monday at Memorial Gymnasium (ESPN2).