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Preview: VCU WBB v Davidson Wildcats

Preview: VCU WBB v Davidson Wildcats

One Last Chance

This is it for Beth O’Boyle’s Rams. They have one more chance to even their record in conference play and get back over .500 overall. Right now the Rams are 14-14 and 7-8 in the A-10. 15-14 looks much better than 14-15 but this one has more riding on it than record aesthetics. VCU is still fighting to host a first round conference tournament match at home. Spots 7-10 are still eligible for this group; a top 8 finish gets you a home game in the tournament. They sit in 8th currently and with a win they guarantee themselves another home game.

Favorable Odds

The A-10 threw VCU nearly the biggest soft ball possible; to lock up a top 8 finish the Rams just need to take care of Davidson. The Wildcats are in 12th place with a 4-11 conference record and 6-21 overall. Of course when you are 7-8 in the league you don’t have the right to look past any opponent.

Leading Scorers Don’t Equate to Winning Seasons

The Wildcats aren’t completely toothless; they do have the third leading scorer in the league. Justine Lyon is averaging over 15 points per game and 5 rebounds. Lyon is a 5-9 sophomore guard. For a backcourt player she has a quality field goal percentage of 44%. Lyon isn’t a threat from deep; she’s made 20 3’s this season. She leads the team in free throws attempted with 4 per contest. The guard isn’t a great shooter when she gets to the line, making 66%.

In the A-10 having one of the top scorers doesn’t mean your team is successful. The four teams with the four leading scorers have a combined conference record of 22-38. La Salle is the only team of the four who isn’t comfortably in the bottom half of the league.  Davidson has another top 10 scorer in Mackenzie Latt, who is a 6-1 forward. She averages 13 per contest. Latt also has the 12th most rebounds in the A-10. She only makes 42% from the field. Latt is a better FT shooter than Lyon, but she’s made about 40 fewer trips on the year. The forward is the best shot blocker on the squad with 27 this season.

Sophomore guard Kianna Speight was proving herself as an important contributor to Davidson’s roster, but she hasn’t stepped on the court since December. Speight was averaging 10 points. Despite her production Davidson was winless in the seven games she played to start the year. That was probably more of a case of the Wildcats being over matched in nonconference play.

Statistically Speaking

After Justine Lyon and Mackenzie Latt, only one active player on Davidson’s roster averages more than 4 points, it’s guard Chloe Johnson scoring 7 a contest. The Wildcats are at or near the bottom of the A-10 in just about every meaningful team statistic; 10th in scoring offense, 13th in scoring defense, 13th in free throw %, 12th in field goal %, last in 3PT FG% and 10th in rebounding margin. They are however, 2nd in the league in steals per game with 8.1. That puts ahead of VCU, the Rams are 5th with 7.5. Still I doubt the VCU is very intimidated. This is the opponent you want to face in a must win type situation for the Rams.

This is the only meeting between these two relatively close schools, last year they played twice. The series was split, each team winning on the road. The Cats were a slightly better group last year with an 11-19 record. VCU better respect their final regular season opponent after, dropping a home game to them a year ago. This season has been something of a disappointment for O’Boyle’s group but a win in their regular season finale will put their conference record just two games worse than 2016’s 10-6 campaign.

Derek graduated from VCU in 2015 with a degree in broadcast journalism. As the Sports Director for VCU’s student run radio station, WVCW, he garnered a handful of nominations for the Intercollegiate Broadcasting Systems Awards and received an award with fellow VCUSports.com contributor Darnell Myrick for their Men’s Basketball Play-by-Play. He’s worked as a producer for multiple radio stations in Richmond and served as the In-Game Host for the Washington Nationals. Derek strives to bring a thoughtful and measured approach to his coverage of VCU sports, while still holding on to his zealous enthusiasm for his alma mater.

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