Undersized freshman settles into sizable role for Vanderbilt women

Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 8:31pm

Jasmine Lister is just trying to keep up.

So far the Vanderbilt freshman guard has done that. She is just one of four Commodores who has played in all 21 games this season. In fact, only Lister and senior Hannah Tuomi have started every game.

It is quite an accomplishment considering Vanderbilt has dealt with injuries all season and has used nine different starting lineups.

“I just try to push through, I guess, and not try to let the fatigue affect my game,” Lister said. “It is a difficult adjustment but I have to step up for the team and try to be a leader.”

She appears to be doing just fine, averaging 12.2 points — the third on the team — as Vanderbilt (14-7, 5-3) jumps into the second half of Southeastern Conference play with a 7 p.m. home game against LSU (15-8, 5-4) on Thursday.

The Corona, Calif., native also is second in assists (69) and 3-point shooting percentage (38.1 percent) despite being one of the smaller players in the SEC at only 5-foot-9.

“Everybody being really tall and having to shoot over them and trying to outsmart them” has been challenging, Lister said. “Everybody is fast so you have to know how to change speeds and outsmart everybody.”

Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb added Lister’s ability to speak up and play defense has aided her in her transition from high school to college basketball.

“She was a piece of the puzzle that we needed,” she said. “We wanted a kid that carried themselves very confidently and was willing to speak up, maybe a little more advanced in verbal leadership than some other players had when they got here young. We felt like we needed that and that is what she has brought.”

Briefly

• Balcomb said she will stick with Tiffany Clarke and Angela Puleo in the starting lineup for Thursday’s game after both contributed in Sunday’s win against Mississippi.

Clarke, a 6-foot sophomore forward, made her sixth start of the season — in place of Jordan Coleman — and scored 10 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes, which was her season-high in a conference game this season. Puleo, a 5-9 junior guard, scored 20 points in 36 minutes — both season-highs. It was just her second start, getting the nod over Gabby Smith.

“I thought Tiff and Ang worked hard for that spot and it showed in the game,” Balcomb said. “I thought that we got off to a good start and I thought that they played very well starting. Once we win, it is nice to keep the same starting lineup, at least two games in a row.”

• Freshman guard Christina Foggie is still listed day-to-day with her second concussion of the season, which she sustained last week during practice. The 5-foot-9 Foggie has missed seven games this season and is not expected to play on Thursday.

“I don’t expect anything for a while,” Balcomb said. “This is a head injury. This isn’t a knee or a foot and it is the second one in a season. Obviously we’ll be very cautious and we are in no hurry.”