The Vanderbilt women continue their frustrating season Thursday night with a game on the road in Oxford against Mississippi. The Commodores have lost three on the bounce since taking down Kentucky in the middle of January, with the latest loss being a lopsided 91-67 defeat at the hands of No. 14 Texas A&M. Can they bounce back this time out?
Here are the three keys:
Watch out for Promise Taylor
Ole Miss has a few players than can impact the game in a positive way that Vanderbilt needs to watch out for. One of those players is freshman Promise Taylor and she is in good form having just been named the SEC Freshman of the Week for the third time this season. That gives her the distinction of winning that award more than any other player in Ole Miss history.
Taylor has been outstanding for the Rebels this season and she is contributing on the floor in multiple ways. Prior to the Rebels game against Tennessee last weekend, Taylor was the SEC’s top-ranked freshman in shooting percentage (59.5 percent) and was also 15th in the entire NCAA with 2.7 blocks per game.
Vanderbilt will have to be aware of Taylor on the offensive and defensive ends.
Be more efficient in the first half
Efficiency – and offensive efficiency in particular – has been an issue for this Vanderbilt team all season. These issues spiked again last time out against the Aggies, with Vanderbilt basically playing their way out of the game by halftime with all the basic mistakes and errors that crept into their game.
The Commodores were down 42-28 at the break and from that point, the Aggies basically coasted home. In that first half, the Commodores missed 17 shots and committed nine turnovers. Some of those turnovers were forced by the Texas A&M defensive pressure, but others were simple mistakes that kept allowing the visitors to build on their lead.
Against Ole Miss – on the road no less – the Commodores will have to be much more efficient in the first half if they want a shot at winning the game.
Lean on Chelsie Hall
The beacon of light in this generally miserable season for the Vanderbilt women has been the play of freshman Chelsie Hall. Hall leads the ‘Dores in scoring with 13.1 points per game and she has only improved with playing time after starting every games this season.
As Hall grows into her role her scoring output has increased and she has scored in double figures in eight of Vanderbilt’s last 10 games. The way this team works, the Commodores need Hall to go off in order to win games. She has scored 20 plus three times this season and another performance of that nature against Ole Miss would be massive if Vanderbilt is to get off this current slide.