Vanderbilt 62, Delaware St 47

Sunday, March 18th 2007, 2:25 pm

By: News On 6

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) _ Christina Wirth scored 17 points to lead a balanced Vanderbilt attack, pushing past No. 15 seed Delaware State 62-47 in the opening round of the Greensboro Regional.

Vanderbilt led 43-40 with about 8:50 remaining. But clutch 3-point shooting and inside power helped the second-seeded Commodores (28-5) pull away.

Vanderbilt struggled the entire first half, leading 28-24 at the intermission.

Raquel Collier, Delaware State's top scorer this season, had 22 points.

Delaware State (20-13) made its first NCAA appearance, while the Commodores have been in eight straight postseason tournaments.

The Lady Hornets, champions of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament, were stranded at a Philadelphia airport on Friday night, forcing players to sleep on chairs, benches and the floor.

But they came out strong in the first half, using a ball-hawking defense. The Commodores had 12 turnovers in the first half and couldn't get any offensive flow, attempting only 15 shots.

Delaware State whittled the lead to one point before a 3-pointer by Vanderbilt's Jessica Mooney beat the halftime buzzer.

Vanderbilt later scored eight straight _ capped by a 3-pointer from Caroline Williams _ to take a 36-28 lead with 16:52 left.

The Lady Hornets scored four straight points to pull within two, but never got closer.

Vanderbilt has won 11 of its last 12, the only loss coming Feb. 25 at Tennessee.

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