The Vanderbilt women’s basketball team made its first 11 shots of the second half and shot 63.3 percent from the field Tuesday night, beating Western Kentucky (5-2) 77-67 at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The Lady Toppers led 35-34 at halftime, but Vanderbilt (6-3) took control with a 16-4 run after the break and didn’t miss a second-half shot until the 12:15 mark.
The Commodores made 31 of 49 shots in the game and had four players score at least 13 points. They were the first team to shoot better than 60 percent against WKU since Florida International did so Feb. 23, 2011.
Below are postgame comments from coach Michelle Clark-Heard, sophomore guard Alexis Govan and freshman guard Micah Jones:
MICHELLE CLARK-HEARD, coach
Opening thoughts: “I don’t think I’ve ever had a team shoot the lights out like they did. … But my team got better today. Every day, I think we’re getting better and they keep fighting.”
Thoughts during Vandy’s shooting streak: “As a coach, I’m saying to myself, ‘Are you kidding me?’ Some of them was that we didn’t have our hand up to contest, but the majority of them, I think we did.
Message after falling behind: “I challenged them in the huddle when we went down 13. I said, ‘We have to get three stops in a row so we can get this game back to have a chance in the last three or four minutes,’ and that’s what they did.”
More on Vandy’s second half: “When you’re in the locker room and talking to the players about the first five minutes of the second half, it’s kind of demoralizing when they can keep sticking it. For someone to come in your place and shoot 60 percent, that’s a big deal, and it shows what a great team they are.”
Not being able to convert opportunities late: “In the second half, I felt like we took some pretty good shots. Some of them just didn’t go in. We’re working on our shot selection, but I’m proud of them.”
On Govan: “I’ve got to get Alexis back on track. She got a couple of charges, and I need her to calm down a little bit and let the game come to her. Now, everybody’s starting to key on her as a driver. I’ve got to get her to shoot her 3 and shoot her pull-up.”
Team’s demeanor after game: “I think they’re disappointed. To bring a top-25 team in here and have a chance with three minutes to go down six, of course you’re going to be disappointed. That’s the competitiveness in us.”
Forcing Vandy into 22 turnovers: “That’s a good ball team. When they go into SEC play and start beating some people, I think you’ll see how good they are. But I told our girls we still have to grow up and have to make adjustments on the things we do.”
More on demeanor: “Coming out of halftime, they were going back on the floor talking about having to have a winning mentality. That’s what I want to hear as a coach. I’m excited about where we’re trying to go and the transition we’re making.”
ALEXIS GOVAN, sophomore guard
Vandy’s shooting: “They put the ball in the basket. Coach told us at halftime they would come out and come out hard. We expected them to come out as a force, but hitting all those shots sort of took us back.”
What was plan to get back in game? “Sit down and guard. We tried to get as many stops as we could and make something out of it on the offensive end. We did that a few times. We got some stops but couldn’t convert.”
Forcing 22 turnovers: “We’re a defensive team. We said at the beginning of the year we were going to get into people and guard. That’s what we did tonight. That’s what we do every night.”
What did you learn from this one? “We learned a lot. We learned the first five minutes of the second half is crucial. Tonight we didn’t get after it, and that’s something we’ll carry over. We’re going to come out the first five minutes swinging.”
MICAH JONES, freshman guard
Have you seen a team shoot it like that? “No, not at all. They came out really hot. Some of those shots were uncontested, but some of them, we had a hand in their face and they still hit it. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
Trying to get over the hump late: “You can’t get down because we played hard and got those stops. We made some short runs, and then they’d come down and hit a dagger, which was kind of heartbreaking. We never could get it back where we wanted it.”