Women’s hoops splits pair of close contests

Freshman guard Isis Thorpe pushes the ball in transition during VCU’s one-point win against the University of Richmond on Saturday, Feb. 8. Photo by Brandon Geib.

Colin Kennedy
Sports Editor

The VCU women’s basketball team snapped an abbreviated two-game losing streak with a thrilling 63-62 victory against cross-town rival University of Richmond on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Siegel Center.

Just days after the Lady Rams dropped a heartbreaker to defending Atlantic 10 champion Dayton University 73-69, VCU escaped Saturday’s nailbiter despite nearly blowing a 10-point halftime lead.

The game against the Lady Spiders came down to the final possession after freshman Isis Thorpe missed a three-point attempt with just more than 15 seconds on the clock. Down by one, Richmond called timeout and subsequently converted a layup as time expired. Eventually, the refs waved the basket off and the Lady Rams narrowly escaped with the victory.

VCU head coach Marlene Stollings said she dealt with nerves while the officials reviewed the video.

“I was very concerned, but my first take was that it was late,” Stollings said after the game. “It was very close … A photo finish.”

In an effort to confuse Richmond, VCU switched from a zone defense to a man-to-man approach during the final 15 seconds of play. Consequently, the Lady Spiders managed to secure two offensive rebounds on the possession, but scored just milliseconds after the final horn.

Senior forward and A-10 leading scorer Robyn Parks led the Lady Rams with 19 points on 6-13 shooting. She said only one thing was running through her mind during the game’s final moments.

“Just don’t let them score,” Parks said. “We had to pick up the intensity.”

VCU shot an impressive 75 percent from the free throw line on Saturday, but the team’s one-point win came in otherwise atypical fashion. The Lady Rams, who turn opponents over an average of 22 times per game on the season, managed just 11 points off of 13 Richmond turnovers.

Stollings’ team shot just 6-26 from beyond the arc and notched just 12 total assists in the contest, however, VCU escaped with its sixth conference victory and 18th win of the season overall.

For Parks, it was the first victory against Richmond of her career.

Earlier that week, the Lady Rams lost a tough 73-69 road game to defending A-10 champion Dayton despite setting a single-season program record for three pointers made with 175.

VCU rallied back from a 15-point first half deficit to tie the game at 69, but ultimately fell short against the Lady Flyers, who left the game in first place in the conference at 14-5 (7-1).

Parks notched 14 points in the opening half en route to her fourth career 30-point scoring output. Four of Dayton’s five starters finished the game in double-figures and the Lady Flyers shot 46 percent from the field in the winning effort.

Stollings’ team outrebounded Dayton 42-40 and recorded 10 steals on the evening, but VCU was unable to capitalize in transition as they typically do. The Lady Rams scored just 11 points off 28 Dayton turnovers and notched just 10 fast-break points in the loss.

Parks picked up her eighth double-double of the year with 11 rebounds, and Robinson tallied six assists to set a VCU freshman record with 152 on the season.

The loss was VCU’s fifth in conference play and sixth overall on the season.

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