The VCU Rams weren’t ready to end their season with the Atlantic 10 tournament and made an appearance in the WNIT post season. After an impressive 23-9 season under Head Coach Beth O’Boyle, including a 2-1 showing in the A-10 tournament, VCU returned to their home court for round 1 of the WNIT tournament to face another in state team the UVA Cavaliers (16-15 in ACC play). The Rams led three of four quarters but the Cavaliers were able to pull it out in the final seconds. The dance may be over for VCU but the curtain fell on a successful second season for Coach O’Boyle and her 24-10 Rams.
The Rams led the Cavaliers in the first quarter 18-15 with 40% shooting from the field. Galaisha Goodhope warmed up with a three pointer and then a layup to lead the scorers with 5 points at the buzzer. The Rams out rebounded the Cavaliers 13-7 during the first 10 minutes and VCU dished out 8 assists compared to 2 from UVA.
At the end of the half the teams both averaged 37.5% in overall shooting with a 1 point differential in the quarter (VCU 12, UVA 11). UVA led in three point (4-10) and free throws (4-5) over the full half. The sheer volume of opportunities combined with continuing their assault on the glass and team ball movement allowed the Rams to once again hold the advantage. Goodhope continued to lead the offensive attack going into halftime with 10 points. Jessica Ogunnorin led VCU’s board domination contributing 6 of the Rams 24 rebounds and Keira Robinson had racked up 4 dimes in the first 20 minutes. VCU continued to lead 30-26.
During the third quarter VCU extended their lead to as many as 11 points. The Cavaliers were able to add 8 points but continued to fall behind the Rams in rebounding and assists. Faith Randolph entered double digits for UVA leading their scorers with 13 over the first 30 minutes. VCU was up 43-39 going into the final quarter.
The Cavaliers turned up the pressure in the final quarter and began cutting into the Ram lead. They were able to stop the VCU offense with an 11-1 run and tied it up 48-48 with a long range shot from J’Kyra Brown at 1:42. VCU took back the lead with a Goodhope layup only to have it tied up again from a Randolph jumper with 0:39 remaining. Pegram was called for a foul with :03 remaining and Randolph was able complete the upset with 2 crucial free throws in the final seconds and end with 21 points. UVA claimed a 52-50 victory to survive and advance to round two.
Goodhope ended the game with 12 points followed by Adaeze Alaeze with 10. Ogunnorin finished with 9 points and 11 rebounds. Despite foul trouble for Ogunnorin and Curteeona Brelove they were able to give the Rams a solid defensive edge the majority of the game.
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