For the first time since Feb. 14, 1991, Vanderbilt made the short trip to Lipscomb.
It might be a while before the Commodores go back.
After scoring the game’s first 13 points, No. 13 Vanderbilt survived a scare and held on for a 62-45 victory on Monday night at Allen Arena. The Commodores led by 20 points in the first half but Lipscomb chopped the deficit to six three times in the second half. Behind Jasmine Lister’s 24 points, which tied her a career-high, Vanderbilt pulled away with a 15-5 run over the last three minutes.
The Commodores improved to 15-0 all-time against the Bisons.
“I think we got relaxed. We missed shots and we got tight,” Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb said. “They forced us to shoot from the outside and packed in. We were thinking about our offense too much. The last five minutes, it got close and we buckled down and defended.”
The Commodores (2-0) jumped out to a 13-0 lead as Lipscomb appeared lost with three shot clock violations and 11 first-half turnovers. The Bisons (0-2), who started three freshmen, finally scored on Chelsea McMeans’ layup at the 9:59 mark.
“I told [assistant coach John] Wild, ‘Well at least they’re not going to throw a shutout on us,” Lipscomb’s first-year coach Greg Brown said. “[After halftime] I think we did a pretty job of controlling the tempo. They have been averaging 80-something points. There’s no way we can score that many. It would take us two days to do that.”
Despite 20 turnovers, Lipscomb’s sagging man defense held Vanderbilt to 36.8 percent shooting, including just eight baskets after halftime. Former Brentwood High product Hannah Phillips finished with 21 points. The former Vanderbilt ball girl was one point shy of a career-high, and her 3-pointer early in the second half sparked a 9-0 run.
The Bisons made it a two-possession game three times. Two free throws by Phillips with 6:39 left cut the lead to 44-38 and they had a chance to narrow it but Sasha Robinson missed twice from the line with five minutes left. Still, it was only 47-40 with more than three minutes remaining. After a missed 3-pointer Alex Banks, Vanderbilt’s Kady Schrann hit a jumper and scored eight straight points and got two big 3-pointers from Lister to seal the win.
“We got to open this lead up. We can’t give them a chance to actually come back and thinking they can win this game,” Lister said. “But they fought hard.”
• Vanderbilt freshman guard Jasmine Jenkins served a one-game suspension for a violation of team rules.
• The Commodores entered with their highest ranking in the Associated Press poll since starting the 2008-09 season ranked 12th.