The Iona Gaels threw the opening tip out of bounds after winning the possession and that general dysfunction would continue for both teams’ offenses in the first quarter. Neither VCU nor Iona could find clean looks inside the paint and their bail out shots weren’t working. After the first 5 minutes the teams combined for 7 points. They combined to shot 3 for 18 from the field during that time. Gaels’ forward Karynda DuPree showed VCU her shot blocking prowess early in the game. The Rams kept trying to make passes inside to post players Brelove and Gibson but the Gaels denied the passes or doubled in the post. Iona forced guards to either shoot over them or drive and score past them.
After the under 5 timeout both teams settled in offensively and played a half-court style. Both teams ended the first quarter with only 4 field goals but a handful of free throws each boosted their scoring numbers. VCU led after one quarter 12-11.
Even when the Rams were able to find Brelove posting up she had trouble getting a shot around Iona forward DuPree. VCU barely threatened from three point range so Iona packed their defenders in the paint and shut down the lane. The Rams were unwilling to shoot from range and that led to several extended scoring droughts of 3 to 5 minutes. Despite all of VCU’s offensive struggles, they forced 12 turnovers in the first half and were in front by 2 at the break.
Galaisha Goodhope was a catalyst for VCU’s offense in the second half. She led the Rams with 17 points. Most of them came unassisted, driving through contact and getting to the line. She was 6 of 9 from the stripe. Goodhope also dealt 3 assists with no turnovers. She started to take over late in the game. Her driving was the only answer VCU had for Iona’s pack line defense.
Alexis Lewis was the leading scorer for Iona. Lewis had 20 points and 6 rebounds. She helped maintain Iona’s lead down the stretch despite Goodhope’s best efforts. Lewis made 4 of Iona’s 6 three pointers. VCU only made 3 shots from behind the arc all game.
The Gael’s cleaned up their turnovers in the second half. They finished the half with only 7. Iona also cleaned up the glass all day. They out rebounded Coach O’Boyle’s team 43 to 27, finishing with 19 second chance points.
VCU kept making runs at Iona’s second half leads but after getting down 9 they weren’t able to close the gap beyond 1. The Rams got one last chance down 2 with 10 seconds left. Out of a timeout Keira Robinson found an open look from 15 feet but could not convert.
VCU falls to 4-3 and Iona get to 3-3. The Rams will play at George Washington on Friday.
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