Vanderbilt's Foggie more interested in playing defense than defending SEC scoring title

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 11:18pm

Christina Foggie proved she can score better than anyone in the Southeastern Conference.

Now she wants to defend at an elite level too.

Heading into her junior season at Vanderbilt, the shooting guard wants to showcase a much improved skill set as a stopper.

“Getting older, quicker and smarter, I really think I can step it up this year and be a really good all-around player,” Foggie said. “Coach [Melanie] Balcomb’s been helping me tweak that and keeping me accountable.”

Foggie anchors a team that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2011-12. The Commodores return all five starters, 97 percent of last year’s scoring while also welcoming in six freshmen. Vanderbilt started practice last week with 16 players and opens its season on Nov. 10 against McNeese State.

Along with leading the league at 17.7 points a game, the All-SEC selection also snatched 43 steals — the second-most on the team. Still, she believes her defense can be better and lead to more scoring opportunities.

“That’s where I saw a lot of my points come from — steals,” Foggie said. “I’m good at deflecting and anticipating [passes] but just keeping people in front, my girl from getting to the basket. Being a physical player all around, being a physical defender and dictating people.”

When Balcomb recruited the 5-foot-9 Foggie out of Mount Laurel, N.J., defense wasn’t her strength.

“She wasn’t a bad defender she just didn’t have the ability she has now with the knowledge she has,” Balcomb said. “She came out of high school playing a 2-3 zone. ... When you come out of high school if you didn’t play a lot of defense or wasn’t taught a lot of defense, you’re pretty passive defensively. She wasn’t bad. She didn’t hurt us. But she was pretty passive defensively and we want her to be more aggressive and I think she will because she has such a better understanding.“

She hasn’t disappointed as a shooter given that she captured the school’s first league scoring crown since Wendy Scholtens won three straight from 1989-91.

Foggie was fifth in the country last year with a 41.5 shooting percentage from 3-point range. She made 91 3-pointers — just four off of the single-season record — and needs 208 points to become the 34th member of Vanderbilt’s 1,000-point club.

This year, she said she’s added a pull-up jumper to her arsenal, which expanded last season as she drove more to the basket. With better defense and more ways to score, Foggie has a chance to be the SEC’s first repeat scoring champ since Tennessee’s Candace Parker in 2007-08.

But another scoring title isn’t her top priority.

“Nah, I’m not really trying to defend it,” Foggie said. “It’s cool that I got it last year. Now, with 16 people, there are a lot of factors going into that. So I might not have to play as much as I did last year. It is just something you take it day by day. If it happens again, cool. If not, I have one under my belt so I’m satisfied with that. As long as I get better each year there’s no problem.”