Monday, February 23, 2009

One tough loss

By Barca Blog

"It had to be one of the toughest losses since I've been at Vanderbilt."

Those were the words of head coach Melanie Balcomb following Vanderbilt's devastating 71-69 loss at Ole Miss Sunday, which dropped the Commodores (21-7, 10-3 SEC) out of first place in the SEC standings behind Auburn (26-2, 11-2) with one game remaining.

It looked like Jence Rhoads' basket at the buzzer would extend the game into overtime, but officials used video replay to determine that the shot occurred after the buzzer.

The loss stung hard because the Commodores had controlled their chance at winning their first ever conference title, but now need to win at Tennessee (19-8, 8-4) Sunday plus a Tigers' loss to Arkansas (17-11, 6-7) to earn a co-championship. While 'Dores have never won in Knoxville, Arkansas might be the hottest team in the conference, winning five SEC games in a row, a new school record for the Razorbacks.

No matter what happens, Vanderbilt will end up in at least a tie for second place, the best finish in Balcomb's seven years on West End. The Commodores have also clinched at worst a No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament based on the remaining tie breakers.

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