After spending the past two weeks on the road, VCU women’s basketball came up short in a return to the Siegel Center where they hoped to use home court advantage against the No. 24 ranked George Washington University Colonials, Wednesday Feb. 18.
VCU was unable to keep up with the Colonials’ offense, losing 65-57, their fifth consecutive loss. The Rams now sit 14-12 overall and 9-3 at home. The Rams struggled from the floor, shooting 35 percent from the field and 42 percent from the line.
George Washington certainly had the height advantage over VCU, with several of their players standing more than 6-feet tall as the Colonials beat the Rams on the boards, out-rebounding VCU 54-31.
“I thought our post players did a good job of battling for 40 minutes,” said head coach Beth O’Boyle. “But when you give 18 offensive rebounds to a team like GW it’s tough to pull out the win.”
Sophomore guard Hannah Schaible put the Colonials on the board early in the first minute with a three-point shot. VCU answered GW’s three pointer with one of their own when sophomore guard Isis Thorpe lined up behind the arc two possessions later.
After five and half minutes, the first pair of foul shots of the game were taken. VCU sophomore guard/forward Camille Calhoun went to the line after snagging an attempted layup. Calhoun knocked down both free throws for the Rams, narrowing GW’s lead to five points.
Eight minutes into the first half, freshman guard Chadarryl Clay knocked down a big three for VCU to tie up the game. Twenty seconds later, GW’s freshman guard Brianna Cummings answered Clay’s three, to put the Colonials back on top, 15-12.
A Thorpe field goal and free-throw shot at the 7:26 mark of the first half once again narrowed GW’s lead to a five point deficit.
With 5:49 left to play in the first period, junior guard/forward Adaeze Alaeze put up a shot on the block, drawing the foul. Alaeze converted a three-point play making the contest a one-possession game, 24-21.
With 1:46 left to play, the referee called a technical foul on GW sophomore guard Caira Washington for talking back after she didn’t agree with his three-second call. O’Boyle sent VCU’s best free-throw shooter, sophomore guard Ashley Pegram to the line. Both free throws rattled out of the basket, resulting in opportunity missed for the Rams.
George Washington would continue to hold the lead throughout the first half entering the break up 31-26.
Alaeze scored the first points of the second half 30 seconds in with a layup down the lane. However, GW would begin to pull away. A jumper from the free-throw line by senior guard Lauren Chase gave GW a 43-30 four and a half minutes into the second half.
Thorpe, the Rams leading scorer with 17 points, tried to rally her team back into the game but the Colonials continued to bounce between a nine and 11 point lead over the Rams throughout the first 10 minutes of the second period.
With the Rams in the bonus and nine minutes left to go, George Washington extended their lead to 53-39.
VCU only committed five fouls in the first half, but committed their eighth with 5:20 left to go, allowing the Colonials to get to the line and put GW up 17 points, their biggest lead of the game.
With the win slipping away, O’Boyle’s team applied tough pressure on defense, not allowing the Colonials to score in over two and a half minutes. GW went a stetch of 0-4 and 1-6 helping the Rams cut the defecit to 61-53.
With two minutes left to play, a late three-pointer by Pegram cut GW’s lead to five, the closest since half time. However, VCU’s enemy became the clock, as GW’s ensusing possessions ran out the clock. With VCU already in the penalty, the Rams had no choice but to foul sending GW to the line to seal the game. VCU lost 65-57 after coming back from several double digit differences.
“Overall our intensity was there from start to finish,” O’Boyle said. “The little sparks there where they pushed it to a double digit lead and it’s tough to come back on, on a team like that.”
The loss drops the Rams to 5-8 in the Atlantic 10.
The women’s basketball team played another home contest against the University of Massachusetts on Sunday, Feb. 22, but results were not final as of press time.