Vanderbilt women's hoops to face tough tests at home in 2011-12

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 8:56pm
Staff reports

The Vanderbilt women’s basketball team will play 17 of its 29 regular-season games at home in Memorial Gymnasium.

The Commodores on Tuesday released their 2011-12 schedule, which includes eight teams that reached the NCAA Tournament last season.

Notable non-conference matchups include home games against perennial NCAA Tournament contenders Oklahoma and Florida State.

Oklahoma will play Liberty in Vanderbilt’s annual Thanksgiving Tournament. The Commodores will face Lipscomb in the opener on Nov. 25 and could see Oklahoma in either the consolation game or championship game. Vanderbilt is 24-0 in the tournament, having captured the crown all 12 years.

The Commodores host Florida State, which edged Vanderbilt 72-66 last year, on Dec. 22. They’ll play another ACC foe, North Carolina State, on the road on Dec. 18.

“We feel our non-conference schedule will provide us with outstanding preparation for the strong competition we face in the Southeastern Conference,” Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb said.

Vanderbilt will play in-state rival and defending SEC champ Tennessee twice — in Knoxville on Jan. 15 and at Memorial Gymnasium on Feb. 9. So far, the Commodores will play at least one game on national TV — at Kentucky on Feb. 20 on ESPN2.

Vanderbilt opens it season at Memorial Gymnasium on Nov. 11 against Alabama A&M. The Commodores' first six games will be at home before they hit the road and play Austin Peay on Nov. 30 in nearby Clarksville.

Vanderbilt was 20-12 and 10-6 in SEC play last year, falling to Louisville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.