Posted: Feb 24, 2013 5:32 PM
Updated: Feb 24, 2013 5:33 PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tiffany Clarke scored 22 of her career-high 30 points in the second half to help Vanderbilt upset No. 10 Texas A&M 61-51 on Sunday.
Clarke made 12 of 25 shots and scored on back-to-back possessions late to help the Commodores pick up their first win against a Top 10 team since knocking off No. 6 Georgia on Jan. 14, 2010.
Vanderbilt (18-9, 8-6 Southeastern Conference) led by 12 points three times but the Aggies (21-7, 11-3) pulled within 47-44 with 6:23 remaining. Jasmine Lister responded with a 3-pointer and then found Clarke for an open layup. Clarke followed with a turnaround jumped to push the lead back to 55-47 with 1:58 left.
Elan Brown scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half, Lister added 11 and Morgan Batey set a career-high with 11 rebounds. Kelsey Bone, the SEC's third-leading scorer, had 17 points but was just 6-of-18 from the field. Kristi Bellock had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Vanderbilt won consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 6 and strengthened its NCAA tournament resume in the process. The Commodores were 1-5 against ranked teams. Their lone win over a Top 25 opponent came in December against then-No. 12 Oklahoma. Vanderbilt is just one of eight programs in the country to make the NCAA tournament each of the last 13 years.
The Commodores nearly edged SEC newcomer Texas A&M three weeks ago in College Station and looked upset-minded from the start.
After Courtney Walker opened the game with a jumper, the Aggies missed their next eight shots.
Karla Gilbert's layup with 8:58 left in the half gave the Aggies their last lead, 13-12. Clarke quickly responded with a turnaround jumper and the Commodores never trailed after that. Adrienne Pratcher's 3-pointer tied it at 16 but Brown responded with a 3 on the left wing to propel Vanderbilt in front for the last time. It was the beginning of seven straight points and a 13-2 run that spilled over into the second half.
The Commodores made their first five shots out of the break, including four from Clarke. Lister's 3-pointer off an offensive rebound lifted Vanderbilt to a 38-26 lead with 15:44 left.
The Aggies, who had won nine of 10, answered back though and got help from the foul line. They made 16 of 22 free throws and Bellock's sunk a pair to cut the deficit to 47-44 with 6:53 to go. After a free throw by Clarke, Lister made a 3-pointer and the Commodores pulled away with eight straight points.
Texas A&M entered ranked fifth in Division I in field-goal percentage, making 47 percent of its shots. But the Aggies sputtered in their first trip to Memorial Gymnasium since 1996.
Vanderbilt held Texas A&M held to 30.9 percent shooting (17 of 55). Clarke and Brown hampered down on Bone, the league's top rebounder, particularly struggled. Bone missed back-to-back hook shots on one possession and was just 2-of-7 in the first half with five points and only two rebounds. The junior entered as the second-best shooter in the country, shooting at a 59-percent clip.