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Benningfield leads Vandy past Lipscomb

3/20/2004

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Jenni Benningfield had 21 points and
12 rebounds to help Vanderbilt beat Lipscomb 76-45 in the first
round of the Midwest Regional on Saturday.

The second-seeded Commodores (25-7) play 10th-seeded Chattanooga
in the second round Monday.

Vanderbilt had little trouble winning its ninth straight,
continuing a hot streak that powered them to the Southeastern
Conference tournament championship.

The 15th-seeded Lady Bison (20-12), formerly in the NAIA, earned
their first tournament berth in their first year of eligibility by
winning the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament.

Ashley Earley added 18 points and Abi Ramsey had 15 for the
Commodores, who held Lipscomb to 30 percent shooting from the
field.

Courtney Boynton and Katie Beth Pate each had eight points to
pace the Lady Bison.

Vanderbilt and Lipscomb, both located in Nashville, traveled
about 120 miles here, and their fans followed.

After Lipscomb led 4-0, the Commodores went on a 20-3 run to go
ahead by 13 early in the first half.

The Lady Bison trimmed the lead to five when Lynn Roller hit a 3
to cap a 10-2 run.

Vanderbilt quickly extended the lead to 10. The closest Lipscomb
got afterward was 27-19 with 3:19 remaining in the first half.

After the Commodores went up by 24 with about three minutes
left, the Vanderbilt fans yelled "Final Four" as the band played.

If Vanderbilt and No. 1 seed Tennessee keep winning, the two
would play in the regional final for a spot in New Orleans.

Vanderbilt's winning streak started after a 94-88 home loss to
the Lady Vols on Feb. 15.