SEC play begins for the Vanderbilt women’s basketball team on Sunday afternoon. The Commodores had what would have to be considered a disaster of a non-conference slate, but they do come into conference play on the back of a win over Lipscomb last time out.
Here are the first three keys of the season for the Vandy women:
Defend the three-ball
LSU is riding a six-game winning streak after taking care of Sam Houston State 71-58 on Wednesday night. The Tigers haven’t been a particularly high scoring offensive team so far this season, but against the Bearkats they exploded from behind the arc in a way that should have caught the attention of the Commodores coaching staff.
Coming into the game with a season-high of four three-pointers in a game (against Tulane) the Lady Tigers went off from downtown. LSU shot 9-of-17 from three-point range, more than doubling that mark set against the Green Wave. Specific players to watch include Raigyne Louis – who went 5-of-6 from outside the arc – and Dekeriya Patterson.
Protect the basketball
The other reason that LSU was so successful last time out is that they turned the Bearkats ball over repeatedly. They forced a season-high 16 steals as part of the 26 total turnovers committed by Sam Houston State. Turning those turnovers into 25 points – while only committing two fouls in the entire first-half – is a big reason why the LSU offense was more on track in this contest that it had been to this point all season.
The Vanderbilt offense has been hit or miss so far this year. If the Commodores let LSU turn them over at the rate they did in their last game then it is hard to see how Vanderbilt scores enough points to come out on top.
Let the guards play
The Commodores in 2017-18 are led by a pair of guards that do their best to keep the Commodores in every game. Rachel Bell leads the team in scoring and averages 14.7 points per game. Fellow guard Chelsie Hall is only just behind Bell in scoring, putting up 13.2 points per game.
Vanderbilt does not have a huge inside scoring presence like some of the teams they will face later this season in SEC play. Instead, it is going to be down to Bell and Hall to hit enough big shots to keep Vanderbilt in games. This is an SEC game that Vandy can win, but only if the guards play well.