It was an inauspicious start to conference play for the Vanderbilt women was they were blown out by 20 points on the road against LSU. Let’s see if their fortunes change with a home date against Georgia next up.
Here are the three keys:
One of the big problems for Vanderbilt over the last few games has been their ability to finish strongly. The Commodores have been outscored in the final quarter in each of their last three games, with the Belmont and LSU games resulting in the same fourth quarter score line. In each of those games the Commodores fell 30-13 in the final stanza, with the LSU game being particularly disappointing as Vandy was only three points behind entering that final frame.
Be it a better rotation of players, keeping key names out of foul trouble, or just issues with conditioning, Vanderbilt will not win consistently unless they can play better basketball in the fourth quarter.
A better allocation of minutes
The LSU game really showed the depth issues of this Vanderbilt squad. Vanderbilt had just six players clock in with more than nine minutes of game time, while Rachel Bell and Chelsie Hall both put in monumental 40 minute shifts. LSU – for the sake of comparison – had eight players lodging 15 minutes or more of action and all contributed in a positive way.
We are almost certainly too deep into the season to being through more depth. Even so, the likes of Hall and Bell will wear down quickly over the course of SEC play if their minutes are not structured more carefully. It is a difficult balance as those two players are the ones that give Vanderbilt a chance to win games. They cannot do this against fresh players from other schools, however.
Win the battle against Caliya Robinson
Caliya Robinson may not be the Lady Bulldogs leading scorer – that honor goes to Mackenzie Engram at 12.3 points per game – but the 6-foot-3 junior does a little bit of everything else for her team.
The absurdly athletic Robinson had a hard time against the 6-foot-7 Teaira McCowan of Mississippi State in Georgia’s first SEC game of the season, but she will not be the last to suffer from problems against the All-American. Against Vanderbilt, the Bulldogs will look to use her height and strength on both offense and defense, giving her good looks at the basket and using her presence to dominate the paint.
Vanderbilt does not have outstanding post players this season. Slowing down Robinson – and Engram for that matter – will be an important key.