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Thomas scores 16, grabs nine rebounds to boost Vandy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Carla Thomas had 16 points and nine rebounds to help Vanderbilt (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today; No. 11 AP) beat La Salle 70-59 Monday.

Lauren Lueders made a 3-pointer with 18:17 left to give the Commodores a 43-27 lead. But the Explorers chipped away and trailed 59-53 with 4:33 left after a pair of free throws by Crista Ricketts.

Vanderbilt (13-1) sealed the victory when Caroline Williams hit a 3-pointer and Christina Wirth scored inside to push the lead to 64-53 with 3:03 to go. La Salle got no closer than seven points the rest of the game.

Carlene Hightower scored 21 points for the Explorers (11-3). Ricketts, who entered the game averaging a team-high 19.8 points, scored just two in the first half and finished with eight.

The Commodores raced to a 14-4 lead and never trailed. Vanderbilt shot 52.8 percent from the field and held La Salle to 41.7.