Women’s hoops stumbles in A-10 play

Senior Robyn Parks scored 24 points in Wednesday’s home loss to Duquesne University. Photo by Tito Henriquez.

Colin Kennedy
Sports Editor

After a record-setting start, the VCU women’s basketball team lost two of three games during a one-week span against conference opponents, dropping its record to 4-3 in the Atlantic 10 and 16-4 overall.

Second-year head coach Marlene Stollings had her Lady Rams at 15-2 immediately following a 76-69 victory against Saint Joseph’s University at the Siegel Center on Sunday, Jan. 12. But home losses to Fordham University and Duquesne University on Jan. 15 and Jan. 22 respectively doubled VCU’s loss total in seven days.

Last Wednesday’s loss to Duquesne was thanks to a complete performance from the Lady Dukes, whose starting five players combined for 75 of the team’s 77 points in an impressive road win. VCU freshman Keira Robinson scored 16 first-half points and senior Robyn Parks finished with 24 points and nine rebounds, but Duquesne used a 12-3 second-half run to secure its league-leading sixth conference victory 77-65.

The loss came fewer than three weeks after VCU won at Duquesne by a score of 71-68.

Between VCU’s two most recent losses was an 81-51 road win against the University of Massachusetts on Saturday, Jan. 18. Parks led the way for the Lady Rams, recording her seventh double-double of the season, and sophomore Jessica Pellechio contributed 16 points off the bench in the blowout win.

The Lady Rams outscored the Minutewomen by a total of 88 points in their two meetings this month.

VCU’s third loss of the season came against Fordham on Jan. 15. Stollings’ first home defeat in her last eight contests at the Siegel Center came on a night when Parks notched 26 points, eight rebounds and four steals.

In the end, the Lady Rams couldn’t overcome a stellar performance from Fordham guard Erin Rooney, who recorded a triple-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Four of the Fordham starters finished in double figures, and VCU scored 18 points off of 18 Fordham turnovers, but fell 76-63.

Four days after La Salle University snapped VCU’s 13-game winning streak, the Lady Rams used a Robinson double-double and 17 steals to top defending Atlantic 10 champion Saint. Joseph’s  73-69 at the Siegel Center on Sunday, Jan. 12.

Robinson received her league-best third conference rookie of the week award thanks in part to her 21-point, 10-assist performance against Saint Joseph’s, as she paced  VCU toward its 14th win in 15 games.

Parks scored just 12 points on 5-19 shooting, but contributed eight rebounds in the winning effort.

Once again, high defensive pressure got the job done for the Lady Rams. Stollings’ team tallied 17 steals and the Lady Rams scored 23 points off of 23 Lady Hawk turnovers en route to their second victory over a top-60 RPI team in three days.

The win against Saint Joseph’s  was the third time VCU recorded 15 or more steals in a single game this season. The Lady Rams ranked sixth in the nation in turnover margin entering Saturday’s contest against George Mason University.

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