Women’s basketball loses in NIT; season over

Freshman Camille Calhoun (center), seen here earlier this season, was among the reserves who totaled 35 points against Princeton in the first round of the WNIT. Photo by Brooke Marsh.

Alonzo Small
Contributing Writer

The VCU Women’s Basketball team finished its season on March 21 with a 94-76 lost to Princeton University in the opening round of the National Invitational Tournament.

After nearly two weeks, the Lady Rams played a tightly contested game in the first half against the Tigers, entering the half tied at 36-all. The Tigers put together a 14-4 run in the opening minutes of the second half and never looked back, outscoring VCU 58-40.

Princeton shot 50 percent from the field and outrebounded VCU 48-30. The Tigers went 10 of 23 from behind the arc, and four players scored in double-digits, led by sophomore forward Alex Wheatley’s 22 points and 10 rebounds.

Senior Robyn Parks finished with 25 points for the Lady Rams, but was held to four points in the second half. Sophomore guard Jessica Pellechio converted four three pointers on eight shot attempts and finished the game with 17 points. VCU shot 39.7 percent from the field and 32.1 percent from behind the arc.

The game was manageable down the stretch with the Tigers clinging to a single digit lead with under three minutes to play in the game. However, the Tigers would pull away, draining 14 of 16 free throws in the remaining 2:20 to ice the game.

The matchup was the sixth time the Lady Rams have participated in the NIT tournament and fifth invitation since 2008. The loss ends a season that saw the Lady Rams surpass the 20-win mark for the sixth time in program history, and the first since the 2009-10 season. It also marks the end of Parks’ collegiate career.

Parks finished sixth on VCU women’s basketball’s all-time scoring list with 1,561. The Atlantic 10’s  leading scorer (21.8 ppg)  and rebounder (9.3 rpg) finishes third all-time in career free throws, seventh in rebounding, 10th in steals, fifth in double-doubles and second in games played.

The Lady Rams finished the season 22-10 and seventh in the A-10 (9-7). Led by the fast paced style of play called “Fury,” the Lady Rams won 11 of 13 games this season at the Siegel Center. Stolling’s team finished with a 10-7 record on the road and split two games played on neutral corts. All represent improvements from last year’s 11-19 season.

In 32 games played, the Lady Rams averaged 75.8 points per game, the highest scoring average in program history. Stolling’s team registered 41 in total rebounds, 15.4 in total assist and 11.5 steals per game.

The Lady Rams caused tons of problems for teams with an overachieving rookie backcourt that ranked near atop the A-10 and accounted for nearly 43 percent of VCU’s scoring attack.

Freshman guards Isis Thorpe and A-10 All-Rookie Team selection Kiera Robinson started 31 of 32 games this season and were the team’s second and third leading scorers, averaging 12.2 and 11.4 points per game, respectively.

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