The Rams return home on Wednesday trying to earn their first win since January 5th. In that time VCU dropped 3 straight games bringing their record to 9-10 and 2-4 in conference play. Beth O’Boyle’s group will host Rhode Island, who is tied with Davidson for last place in the A-10. Both schools are 0-5 in the A-10, Rhode Island is 4-13 overall. Their most impressive feat to this point in conference play was only losing to conference leader Fordham by five. The school has not won a game since November 29th. Rhode Island is under the command of third-year head coach Daynia La-Force. La-Force’s Rams went 12-18 last season, including a 49-36 loss to VCU.
There are a number of reasons for VCU to be excited about this matchup. Possibly the most attractive stat O’Boyle sees when scouting Rhody is their 19 turnovers per game. VCU should be ready to cash in on all of those opportunities handed to them by the visiting Rams. Giving up 70 points per contest, they rank 13th (out of 14) in the league in scoring defense. Their offense has issues keeping pace, averaging 59 points. Rhode Island’s scoring margin issues are largely a result of constantly giving away the ball but they also shoot poorly from all over the floor. La-Force’s team shoots 37% from the field, 27% from 3 and a conference-worst, 53% from the free throw line.
Rhode Island Star Power
VCU has faced some teams who relied on a single star player but Rhode Island may rely on their star more than any other school in the A-10. Charise Wilson is the engine for her Rams. The 5’5″ junior guard scores 19 points, grabs 4.7 rebounds and dishes out 4.5 assists per game. Wilson is responsible for 37% of her team’s scoring if you include her assists. The guard excels at getting to the free-throw line, making 5 to 6 trips per game, which accounts for nearly 40% of her teams FT attempts. She is 2nd in the A-10 in scoring, 5th in assists and 2nd in steals. In other words, Charise Wilson will be an A-10 first team player and possibly player of the year in the league. She was on the A-10 second team last season and was the rookie of the year in the league after her freshman season. The downside to being asked to do just about everything is you will have inflated turnover numbers. Wilson is responsible for nearly a quarter of her team’s turnovers; she gives the opposition the ball almost FIVE times per contest.
Second in Production
Despite Wilson’s incredible numbers she does get to have four other teammates on the court with her. Their second leading scorer is Dominque Ward, with 8.4 points per contest. Ward is a 5’11″ junior guard who averages 5.8 rebounds per game, the highest on her team. She is also willing to test her range, shooting 17-54 from beyond the arc.
These Rams also have the best rim protector in the conference with Dina Motrechuk. A 6’5″ center who has accumulated 44 blocks through 17 games. Incredibly Motrechuk plays less than 19 minutes per game. In her short amount of playing time, she contributes 6.9 points and 4.7 boards, making her the third leading scorer and tied with Wilson as the second leading rebounder. The sophomore center has a bright future ahead of her.
Must Win Match
Rhode Island has some players with gaudy numbers however as a group they are much more conservative. VCU has fallen victim to schools currently in the top half of the A-10 standings. Rhode Island probably won’t sniff the top half of the league anytime this season. If VCU is going to climb back up the standings they must win home games against teams like this. They need to get a win here because 15-5 Fordham is waiting to meet VCU on Saturday.