10:30 PM ET, November 11, 2005
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Emily Westerberg scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half, leading a rally that propelled Arizona State to a 69-60 victory over Vanderbilt on Friday night in a first-round game of the season-opening WBCA/BTI Classic.The Sun Devils (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) will go after the tournament title Saturday night against Missouri, which beat Clemson 78-54 in the opener.Kristen Kovesdy had 14 points for Arizona State, and Jill Noe had nine in her first game since tearing a ligament in her left knee in October 2003.Liz Sherwood had 17 points and eight rebounds for Vanderbilt (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No.17 AP). Cherish Stringfield had 12 points in a reserve role, and Carla Thomas and Caroline Williams scored 10 each.Westerberg, an all-Pac-10 selection last season as a sophomore, also had nine rebounds and six assists.She put energy into the Sun Devils from the start of the second half, scoring on a putback in the first 15 seconds to cut Vanderbilt's lead to 24-23.But Thomas had back-to-back, three-point plays during a 14-5 surge by the Commodores, who went ahead 38-30 with 14:13 left.The Sun Devils caught up with a 14-5 run of their own, regaining the lead at 44-43 on Westerberg's driving layup with 9:27 to go. After Sherwood made a hook shot, Westerberg had a three-point play with 8:03 left, sending Arizona State ahead for good, 47-45.The Commodores were cold early, missing five of their first six shots and turning the ball over 11 times in the first 10 minutes.But the Sun Devils never led by more than six points in the first half, going ahead 12-6 on a baseline jumper by Amy Denson with 9:35 left in the half.Vanderbilt outscored them 18-7 in the next 7:20, tying the score at 12, 15 and 19 -- the last time on a putback by Christina Wirth with 4:50 to go. That was the last field goal by either team, but Springfield made five straight free throws to give the Commodores a 24-19 lead with 2:14 to play.