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I have the Vanderbilt Commodores at number 5 in the SEC behind LSU, because I do not think their record will end up as nice as the Tigers because the Tigers play in the weak SEC West, while the Commodores have the unfortunate luck to play in the SEC East with titans such as Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia. They will be helped by their early ranking (they are number 24 in the AP Polls), and they should make the NCAA Tournament relatively easily.

Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb has shown herself to be the greatest coach that the Vanderbilt women's basketball program has ever had. She is known for how prolific her offense tends to play, as they tend to rank within the top 20 in most statistical categories. She is also a great recruiter and uses that to her advantage to reload every season instead of rebuild. If there is one thing that teams can not afford to do in the SEC East, it is spend a season rebuilding.

Vanderbilt Women's basketball.
Thanks to Liwei Jiang from Flikr.com for this great picture of Vanderbilt Senior Merideth Marsh (23, guard).

The biggest blow to this Vanderbilt team is that it lost its top scorer from a season ago in Meredith Marsh. Marsh was a leader on the team, and she was the one that they turned to when they needed a spark offensively. With her gone, it will be up to seniors Jence Rhoads, who averaged nearly 14 points per game, and Hannah Tuomi, who averaged 10 points per game.

While everyone can guess that Balcomb will have her offense scoring points and generally being productive, the defense will be the biggest question mark going into the season. While it was not spectacular last season, it was still good enough to win some ball games. Unfortunately, good enough will not cut it in a league as stacked as the SEC East.

The best news for Vanderbilt's defense is that Tiffany Clarke, the Commodores' best shot blocker, returns as a sophomore. Rhoads also showed prowess on the defensive side of the ball, so the defense may yet come together with the experience that Vanderbilt returns.

The Commodores should compete in every game they play this season, and it is not out of the realm of possibility that they will pull some great upsets. I just do not see them winning every night against teams like Tennessee and Kentucky, both of which are stacked on both sides of the ball.

Looking for our Last years Vanderbilt Commodores Womens Basketball page? Check out 2009 Vanderbilt Commodores Womens Basketball.

More Vanderbilt Commodores Women's Basketball Pages:


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