Vanderbilt didn’t lose any steam as the calendar flipped and Southeastern Conference play tipped off.
In one of their most complete performances of the season, the Commodores blasted Mississippi State for a 92-41 victory on Thursday night at Memorial Gymnasium.
Vanderbilt (11-3) picked up its eight straight win thanks to five players scoring in double figures, led by 17 points from Christina Foggie. It was the team’s most lopsided SEC win since a 108-44 drubbing of the Bulldogs on Jan. 17, 1993.
“They’re as good as I thought they were. I don’t know how they’re not ranked,” Mississippi State’s first-year coach Vic Schaefer said. “Coach [Melanie] Balcomb has them playing at such a high level. When you guard them, it is like guarding an NBA team.”
The Commodores shared the wealth with a season-high 24 assists and just eight turnovers. Jasmine Lister dished out 10 assists in addition to 14 points for her second double-double of the season.
“That is what I told them afterwards — 24 assists on 31 baskets is pretty fun,” Balcomb said. “Everybody is sharing the basketball and everybody doing their role. Just the hustle plays. I have three seniors right where they need to be and I think their leadership has been very good. Nobody cares who gets the credit right now. They’re just doing what for this team to win.”
Tiffany Clarke added 14 points and Kady Schrann had 13. Freshman Heather Bowe scored 10 off the bench in her first game back since being hit with a virus that has spread throughout the team.
The Commodores looked far from ill against Mississippi State (8-6), which had won five straight. Vanderbilt sprinted to a 53-18 halftime lead when Elan Brown found Gabby Smith on a backdoor cut with two seconds left for the 14th assist of the half.
Winning their SEC opener for the first time in three years comes on the heels of big road wins at then-No. 12 Oklahoma and USC.
“I think we had a lot of momentum going into this game,” Lister said. “I think [the margin of victory against Mississippi State] scares other teams we’re going to play next,” Lister said. “It just gives us confidence like, ‘This is what we can do.’ But we’re not going to get complacent either.”