Two of Atlantic 10’s top tier teams took the court Wednesday night at the Siegel Center. VCU Women’s Basketball reigned supreme as the conference’s best defense against UMass with the A-10’s best three-point offense. A contrast in style made for a game where defense outplayed offense just enough to win the war on the hardwood.
A Rough Opening Act
Sydnei Archie started the scoring for VCU with the opening basket inside the paint. After that, VCU and UMass struggled offensively going scoreless for nearly 3 minutes. UMass got their offense going first while Danielle Hammond and Kseniya Malashaka provided VCU buckets off the bench.
The Minutewomen had the Atlantic 10’s best three-point offense going up against the conference’s best defense in VCU. Hailey Leidel knocked down a pair from three however as a team UMass went 2-of-9 from three in the 1st half. Tera Reed got going for VCU behind the arc connecting on back-to-back treys on a 6-0 scoring run.
Rams Get Going…And Going.
Reed finished the first half with 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. Hammond provided 6 points off the bench in her opening 10 minutes of play pushing the Rams further ahead. The Rams turned 9 UMass turnovers into 13 points in the first half. At halftime, VCU held a 22-21 lead over UMass.
VCU made things difficult for UMass in the 3rd quarter by holding the Minutewomen to 25% shooting from the field and three. Halftime adjustments by VCU head coach Beth O’Boyle were a success by putting more pressure on the ball handler. That led to UMass turning over the ball 7 times in the quarter.
Big Night For Hammond!
Hammond continued being the Rams’ offensive force alongside Olga Petrova. While Hammond went inside to damage at the rim, Petrova knocked down the Rams’ lone three-pointer in the quarter. Even with a scoreless final 2:30, the Rams headed into the final quarter ahead 35-28.
Points were traded early and often upon the 4th quarter. Both teams matched layup for a layup as the clock winded down. The Rams stayed ahead on the scoreboard with 17 points in the 4th but gave UMass a chance going 5-of-12 at the free throw line.
No Charity, Still A Victory
Free throws were not kind to VCU on this night shooting 9-of-22 (41%). UMass nearly solidified a comeback with the Rams missing their last 4 free throw attempts. Rebounding came up big as time expired for VCU to hold off the Minutewomen’s victory hopes.
Bouncing back into the win column was VCU with the 52-48 victory over Massachusetts. Danielle Hammond led VCU on the night with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Tera Reed finished the night with 13 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds. UMass had 20 turnovers that turned into 22 of VCU’s 52 points during the game.
Next up for VCU Women’s Basketball is a conference road game at Saint Joseph’s on Sunday, February 3rd. The Rams tip-off against the Hawks at 2 PM on ESPN+.