Merideth Marsh scored nine points in overtime, including five in an 11-0 run to open the extra period, as Vanderbilt overcame DePaul 83-76  Sunday in an NCAA tournament first-round contest at Cincinnati.
Marsh, a senior guard, finished with a game-high 26 points and became the school’s all-time leader in 3-point baskets. She made three of eight long-range shots, the second of which was the 253rd of her career and moved her past Abi Ramsey (252 from 2002-05).
With the victory, the Commodores (23-10) advanced to the second round of the tournament for the 10th straight year. It was their first postseason overtime game since March 24, 2003 – an 86-85 loss to Boston College in coach Melanie Balcomb’s first season – but their third overtime victory in as many tries this season.
“Overtime is about heart that’s all it is,” Marsh said. “ … I know I didn’t want to go out like that and we didn’t want to go out like that. We’ve won every overtime game that we’ve been and that builds a lot of confidence in us.”
DePaul (21-12) forced overtime with a 12-3 run at the end of regulation. Both teams had chances to go ahead in the final minute but missed shots. VU had the final chance, but Jessica Mooney missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Hannah Tuomi added 17 points on 7-for-7 shooting and a game career-high 12 rebounds for Vanderbilt. Mooney had 14 points, six assists and four steals off the bench as the Commodores’ reserves outscored DePaul’s 23-2.
“I can usually tell by my players’ eyes and their body language and I felt good about it (in overtime),” Balcomb said. “What I felt good about was I really had gone down the stretch with three seniors and two juniors and I knew (DePaul) was a lot younger. … I felt like I had kids on the floor that knew how to win.”
The Commodores fell behind 4-0 at the start but answered with a 15-1 run, which included seven points by Marsh. They led by seven 33-26 at halftime, but gave up the first six points following the intermission.
The Blue Demons eventually went in front and led by as many as seven, 48-41, before Mooney started a 12-0 Vanderbilt run.
Anna Martin led four DePaul players in double figures with 24 points.
“The players were psyched, we were excited about still playing basketball for five more minutes,” DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. “It comes to being able to make a defensive stop out of the huddle and we didn’t.”
Tennessee 75, Austin Peay 42
The Lady Vols, which secured a No. 1 seed, took care of another Tennessee team on Saturday, beating No. 16 seed Austin Peay in Knoxville during the opening round of the NCAA women's tournament.
Tennessee (31-2), playing in its NCAA-record 29th first-round game, had advanced out of the opening weekend every season until last year's 71-55 loss to Ball State in the first round as a No. 5 seed.
Coach Pat Summitt’s Lady Vols are now 43-1 in the first two rounds.