The Rams were on a roll until the Billikens snapped their 6 game win streak on January 7th. It was an aggressive game and VCU went full throttle until the final buzzer when SLU claimed the 77-72 victory. In another down to the wire game the SJU Hawks were able to pull out a last minute 66-63 victory. Following a 3 point shot and free throw in the last 0:11 of play the Rams fall but not without a fight.
Senior Adaeze Alaeze, the Rams leading scorer with 7 games in the 20 or more point range, kicked it off with the first jumper of the game. Alyssa Monaghan answered with one from long range to give SJU a 3-2 lead. The first quarter was marked by balanced scoring from VCU with 7 Rams contributing at least one bucket. Keira Robinson led the Rams contributing 4 of 7 assists to her teammates. SJU was led by Monaghan who dominated from behind the arc going 3 of 4 and providing 9 of the Hawks 13 points. At the buzzer the Rams were up 16-13.
The Hawks opened the second quarter with a jumper from Jordan Strode cutting the VCU lead to 1. Isis Thorpe answered with a lay up to give the Rams a 3 point advantage. The teams repeated the pattern 2 more times before a 3 pointer from Kathlee Fitzpatrick tied it up 22-22. The teams exchanged 1 point leads until 3:08 when the Hawks started to pull away extending their lead to as much as 6 points twice. The SJU offense outscored VCU 20-13 during the second quarter helping them to claim the lead at the half. Chaddaryl Clay hit 2 from the stripe to close the gap to 2 possessions. At the buzzer SJU led 33-29.
Jessica Ogunnorin contributed the first points of the third quarter. SJU answered with a lay up from Sarah Fairbanks. A long range shot from Robinson cut the lead to 1 and the Hawks answered with a 5-0 run. The Hawks worked to maintain their 5 point lead bouncing back 3 times from Ram counters, but persistence won out and VCU was able to regain the lead in the final seconds courtesy of a lay up from Curteeona Brelove and assist from Alaeze. VCU outscored SJU 15 to 10 and squeaked out a 44-43 advantage heading into the final 10 minutes.
True to their motto “The Hawk Will Never Die” SJU continued to fight back and regained the lead early in the final quarter off a quick 5 points from Monaghan. The Rams refused to back down and continued their advance and after struggling from long range in the first 30 minutes (0-4) it was a shot from beyond the arc from Isis Thorpe that sparked a 7-0 Ram run and a 59-54 advantage with 4:06 remaining. SJU fired back getting within 1 point following the 3 point conversion from Ciara Andrews at 0:43. A time out by the Hawks at 26.7 and a tenuous 63-62 lead by the Rams and then a 3 pointer from Andrews to give SJU the lead. Another Hawk free throw and the Hawks controlled 66-63 when O’Boyle called a final time out with 2.8 remaining but with little time to change the score the Rams suffered their second consecutive home loss. The Rams move to 12-4 and 1-2 in conference.
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