Vandy falls to Middle Tennessee in WNIT
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Iyana Moore's 3-pointer as time expired fell off the mark and Vanderbilt's run in the WNIT ended with a 55-53 loss to Middle Tennessee in the Murphy Center on Thursday.
Vandy had 1.8 seconds on the clock and threw the ball inbounds from under the basket to Moore on the right wing. The freshman from Murfreesboro, who had 14 points, was able to collect the ball and get a shot off, but it wasn't meant to be.
The Blue Raiders (26-7) move on to the WNIT quarterfinals to face Toledo.
Jordyn Cambridge also had 14 points for the Commodores. The senior also collected four steals and four rebounds. Sacha Washington added 12 points and collected eight rebounds.
Vanderbilt ended its season at 16-19.
Middle Tennessee had taken a 43-41 lead into the fourth quarter Thursday after outscoring Vanderbilt 22-12 in the third. The Blue Raiders would put together what would amount to a 15-1 run to be up 46-41 with 9:36 remaining.
Moore was able to make it a two-point game with a jumper at 48-46. Cambridge hit a pair of free throws with 1:17 on the clock cutting the score to 53-52 in favor of Middle Tennessee.
Cambridge knocked down 1 of 2 from the line with 32 seconds to play making it a 53-53 ballgame.
Kseniya Malashka, 25 seconds later, sank two freebies to provide what would be the final margin.
After an evenly-matched first 5+ minutes, Vandy got some separation at the 4:11 mark with a Moore layup that gave the Commodores a 10-6 lead.
That bucket was part of an 11-0 run that included a contested Moore 3 and back-to-back Cambridge and Washington layups, respectively, that grew the margin to 17-6. A Moore jumper from the lane gave Vandy a 21-10 lead going into the second quarter.
It took the Commodores nearly two minutes to score into the second stanza - a Cambridge steal led to a layup making it a 23-12 game. But Vandy wouldn't score for another 4:19 until Cambridge's layup kept the Dores ahead 25-18.
Moore's second triple of the night gave Vanderbilt a 29-18 lead. Middle Tennessee would get a Courtney Whitson triple to end half to be within 29-21 going into the break.
Vanderbilt shot 46.2 percent in the first half and forced 11 Middle Tennessee turnovers.
The Blue Raiders scored the first four of the third quarter before Washington quieted the crowd with a bucket down low. Cambridge's runner was followed by a long Kaylon Smith jumper stretching the visitors' lead back out to 35-25.
Alexis Whittington's 3 from the right side with three minutes to go in the quarter drew Middle Tennessee within 40-34. A minute later a Malashka layup cut the score to 40-37.
Jalynn Gregory drained a long 3 from the left side to tie the score at 40-all and then, before the third-quarter buzzer, Dor Saar curled off a screen to hit a triple and put the Blue Raiders up 43-41.
That set up the decisive and final 10 minutes.
- Vandy finished its season 1-11 in road games
- Vanderbilt last won three national postseason games in the 2002 NCAA Tournament.
- Thursday's game was the latest into the month of March for Vanderbilt since playing March 25, 2013, in the NCAA Tournament.
- Vandy is now 8-12 all-time against Middle Tennessee and has lost three straight in the series.
- Cambridge finished with 129 steals, the most in a single Vanderbilt season.
- Cambridge is eighth in Vanderbilt history with 234 career steals.
- Jackie Cowan is seventh with 235. Ralph (16) finished with the second-most wins in an inaugural coaching season at Vanderbilt.
- Jim Foster and Melanie Balcomb each won 22 in their respective first campaigns.
- Attendance on Monday as announced as 3,022.