A reunion of sorts of former Atlantic 10 rivals in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) between VCU and Charlotte. The 49ers led the all-time series 21-8 however VCU won their last WNIT matchup back in 2008.
“We knew coming in that we would have to play for 40 minutes to earn a win and stay competitive.”
–VCU Head Coach, Beth O’Boyle
Coming In HOT!
Sydnei Archie launched VCU out the gates offensively as the Rams scored 10 quick points before the first media timeout. VCU took advantage near the basket with Danielle Hammond and Tera Reed doing damage on the scoreboard. Madison Hattix-Covington kept the ball moving with key passes leading to scoring chances for VCU.
Charlotte started the game 1-of-5 and ended the first at 5-of-16 shooting from the field. The 49ers got a rejuvenating three from Laia Raventos but could not get their offense running near the basket. Sydnei Archie increased VCU’s lead to 15-11 with a long two just before the buzzer.
Even Playing Field…Then A Run
The minutes were a struggle for both teams in the second quarter offensively. VCU and Charlotte could not connect from three forcing each club to cut towards the rim. Even with a scoreless 4 minutes, VCU remained on top. Reed on an inbound play bounced the rock to Kseniya Malashaka for the uncontested VCU layup.
VCU finished the quarter scoring 6 of their last 8 attempts. Reed and Malashka ignited behind the arc for two consecutive VCU three pointers. Charlotte was held to a 10 second violation by the Rams and Reed made her way back to the basket for another layup. A 8-0 scoring run had VCU feeling good up 27-18 as Charlotte burned a 30 second timeout.
Consistency was key for the Rams shooting 46% in the 1st and 2nd quarter. Reed led VCU with 9 points with Malashka and Hammond adding 5 points each. Charlotte was held to 29% from the field and 1-of-7 from behind the three ball. VCU held a 31-22 lead at the half.
Danielle Hammond took over the third with 9 straight points for the Black & Gold. The run started for #30 from the free throw line with a pair of free throws; Hammond would score once again at the basket on VCU’s next possession. VCU found their leading scorer once again on a cut to the basket that turned into an And-1 for Hammond. After making a three-point play, Hattix-Covington drew Charlotte’s double team then dished to a wide open Hammond under the rim.
Trailing 33-43, Charlotte was in need of a response. Mariah Linney was that answer hitting two free throws and a three to cut the deficit to five. Defense was a priority for VCU with their offense going the last 5:14 of the third without a basket. With more free throws from Ka’Nesshia Brown and Jade Phillips, the 49ers kept the game at 48-43 VCU heading into the fourth quarter.
Ahead Of The Game
A quick 5-0 run by VCU’s Sydnei Archie and Madison Hattix-Covington put the home team up 10 points. Charlotte once again worked while trailing to give the 49ers a fighting chance. The game became physical warfare with the Rams and 49ers racking up foul after foul.
Linney got hot yet again from downtown to lead the 49ers within 5 points. VCU launched another 5-0 scoring swing as the Rams pushed back up double-digits with under 2 minutes to play. Robinson launched a floater that hit all net and Nyra Williams connected on a momentous VCU three ball with just over 60 seconds left.
Inside the painted rectangle was where the war was won by VCU. The Rams outscored Charlotte 30-20 and edged the 49ers in rebounding 34-33. Tera Reed grinded her way to 18 points and 6 rebounds. Danielle Hammond with 14 points and 2 rebounds off the VCU bench as the second Ram in double figures.
VCU Women’s Basketball advanced to the next round of the WNIT with a 65-52 victory over Charlotte. VCU never gave up the lead during the entire game and the Rams’ biggest lead was 13 points. The Rams will play Virginia Tech on Sunday, March 24th at 2 PM in Blacksburg.