The VCU women’s basketball team continued building on its strong start to the season on Thursday, Nov. 21, winning for a third time in four games. The Lady Rams picked up a 67-57 victory against the University of Texas Pan-American Broncs at the UTPA Fieldhouse in Edinburg, Texas, improving their record to 3-1 on the year.
Senior Robyn Parks led the way for VCU, registering a game-high 16 points and 15 rebounds in her second consecutive double-double performance for the Lady Rams. Head coach Marlene Stollings and her team were forced to fend off a strong second-half Broncs rally, but found a way to win despite shooting just 34 percent from the field.
In what was a game of runs, the Lady Rams used a 23-6 stretch at the conclusion of the first half to take a 43-27 lead into the locker room. But the Broncs answered with a 15-0 run to start the second half, pulling UTPA within one point just more than seven minutes into the second stanza.
The Broncs eventually regained the lead with just more than 10 minutes to play in the game before Parks led a 16-1 VCU run, which gave the Lady Rams the lead for good and helped pushed their record to 3-1 on the season. There were 11 lead changes and two ties over the course of the contest.
VCU forced 26 UTPA turnovers, but the Lady Rams turned it over 27 times. Each team scored 25 points off opponent turnovers in the game, and neither squad shot the ball particularly well. The Lady Rams converted 22-64 (34 percent) field goal opportunities while the Broncs shot 21-65 (32 percent) from the field. VCU shot 25 percent from the three-point line, its second-best perimeter percentage in four contests this season.
With virtually even field goal percentages and turnover margins the difference was made in rebounding and free throws. VCU outerbounded UTPA 54 to 41, which led to 22 second-chance points for Stollings’ team. The Lady Rams also shot 12 more free throws than the Broncs, which directly contributed to VCU’s 10-point road victory.
The team’s frequent ability to get to the free throw line, even away from home, may be a testament to the program’s recently implemented “Fury” style of play, which centers around a very aggressive and attacking offense.
Parks, who is benefitting from the up-tempo offense, is posting career-high numbers worthy of conference player of the year consideration. She is averaging 19.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per game through four contests.
Sophomore Jessica Pellechio contributed 13 points for VCU on 5-5 shooting Thursday night, and sophomore Adaeze Alaeze and freshman Keira Robinson added 11 points apiece. Robinson also added five steals and a game-high six assists, more than half of the teams total for the night.
At 3-1 after Thursday’s matchup the Lady Rams were in second place in the Atlantic 10 Conference. They played at The University of Texas-Arlington Sunday Nov. 24th but a result was not final as of press time.
Next up for VCU is University of North Carolina Greensboro at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27. The Lady Rams will conclude their five-game road trip after playing Wagner College on Sunday Dec. 1 and University of Maryland Baltimore County on Saturday, Dec. 7.