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Marlene Stollings returned to Siegel Center for the first time as the opposition. The former VCU Women’s Basketball head coach left with Minnesota and took a physical 79-69 victory over VCU to the nearest exit.
VCU got things rolling early in the first quarter. Camille Calhoun got to work early with two consecutive buckets that ignited a 6-0 scoring run for the Rams. Minnesota had early jitters with seven turnovers in the first quarter. Things got scary for the Black & Gold as Calhoun went down with a leg injury forcing her to the sidelines. Keira Robinson stepped up leading the VCU offense with 20 points. Rams held a 13-12 lead as the first quarter came to an end.
Minnesota brought the physical game in the second quarter. The Gophers banged their way inside the paint for points outscoring VCU 29-9. A hot offensive start for VCU went ice cold in the second as the Rams were held scoreless for nearly six minutes. As the Black & Gold struggled shooting 22% (4-of-18) Minnesota had their way shooting 59% (13-of-22) and took a 41-22 lead into halftime.
Isis Thorpe got things rolling for VCU in the third quarter. Thorpe was able to make some key VCU free throws while Ashley Pegram went coast to coast providing a much-needed boost to the Rams offense. Turnovers continued being on the Gophers’ bad side as VCU took advantage of sloppy offensive possessions by Minnesota. The Rams capitalized on bad shooting thanks to Mooriah Rowser producing off the bench with ten points alongside Robinson. Belief in a comeback started to emerge off the VCU bench as the Rams cut the deficit to 47-57.
Emotions were running high as the fourth quarter began. VCU continued banging on Minnesota’s front to decrease the deficit further. Isis Thorpe collected ten points on the night as she drove inside and took advantage from the free throw line. Carlie Wagner proved too much for VCU to handle on defense leading the Gophers with 26 points. Kenisha Bell added an additional 24 as Minnesota silenced the VCU comeback.
The Rams showed tremendous heart in a losing effort. VCU forced 23 Minnesota turnovers and had 10 steals in the game. Paint production was key for the Rams with 36 points from under the glass. VCU’s bench outscored Minnesota 22-12.
Coming up next for VCU Women’s Basketball is their first road game of the 2016-17 season. VCU takes on Campbell on Saturday, November 19th at 6 PM.