An Early Ram Lead
IUPUI and VCU opened the first quarter with a furious pace but with sloppy play. IUPUI tried to break away with three-pointers but could only make 1 of their first 6 shots. The Rams defense settled in and kept them in the game, playing their aggressive style. IUPUI found it difficult to pass the ball inside to star center Mikale Rogers. She only got three attempts off in the first quarter. Rogers did make an impact on the glass, grabbing 5 boards in the first quarter and recording a block.
VCU ended the first quarter on a 5-0 run in the last 40 seconds. Curteeona Brelove scored a lay-up and Kiera Robinson stole an in-bounds pass and that led to a VCU basket to end the quarter. The Rams ended the quarter with a 15-11 lead.
Isis Thorpe was her usual aggressive self on offense but the Jaguars collapsed their defense to shut her down when she got into the paint. VCU succeeded in getting the ball inside almost all game but they routinely missed open looks. IUPUI returned the favor by shooting 2 for 10 from range. Ashlee Mitchell came off the bench in the second quarter and disrupted the Jaguars defense. She got a few deflections but her contributions were mostly limited to tipped passes.
VCU’s defensive strategy was clearly to deny the ball to star center Mikale Rogers. Curteeona Brelove and Bria Gibson were tasked with defending Rogers. They held her to 8 points but she snagged 13 rebounds.
VCU continually drove into the paint and scored 22 of their 24 first half points there. They weren’t efficient, getting those points on 34 shot attempts. Despite missing some easy baskets VCU took a 24-18 lead into the half.
IUPUI came out of the half with a 9-4 run to reduce the Ram lead to 1 point. Jaguars guard Sydney Hall started to find her range in the second half. Hall was 2 for 2 in the third period and continued to knock down shots. She was 3 for 4 in the fourth and IUPUI was able to finally wrestle the lead away from VCU late in the game.
A three for OT
VCU was down 3 with one last possession; Robinson took the requisite 3 for the Rams. She sunk it with under five seconds to play and sent the game into overtime.
Unfortunately for the Rams Hall came into overtime with a hot hand. She was 2 for 2 from 3 and Danielle Lawrence helped with one of her own. Those were the first 3 shots of the overtime period and put the Rams down 9. VCU was unable to handle the onslaught and they lost the rematch 71-62.
VCU (2-2) is headed to Daytona Beach for the San Juan Shootout. The Rams will play American on the 24th.
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