Coming off of a two-game road trip and a heartbreaking one-point loss to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, VCU women’s basketball looked to get back on track with a home match-up against Campbell University (Big South, 3-2) — and rebound they did. The Lady Rams took down the Camels 57-34 to start the season at 3-1.
“It feels great to be back in front of all of our fans and family,” said senior forward Adaeze Alaeze. “There’s no place better than playing at VCU.”
Though the final score favored VCU, the beginning of the game was anything but favorable. While the Camels scored on their first possession, the Lady Rams fell into a scoring drought, before getting on the board with a layup from senior guard Isis Thorpe nearly half-way through the first quarter. VCU went into the half with a 23-8 lead.
While VCU’s offense got off to a sluggish start, the defense came out aggressive, limiting Campbell to just three points in the first quarter and eight points in the half. The Lady Rams stifled the Camels, limiting them to 22 percent shooting as Campbell also turned the ball over 23 times to the Rams’ six.
“I always tell them be an athlete, try to get a tip, try to get a deflection and lets run, and I think our depth really helps us,” said Head Coach Beth O’Boyle. “We’re playing a lot of people and we can keep that tempo. I don’t think you can do that if you don’t have confidence in all of your players, and I really do.”
Perhaps most key to the defensive effort, the Rams held Campbell’s star junior forward Amanda Coffer scoreless from the floor. Coffer fell into foul trouble early, with her two points coming on free throws in the fourth quarter.
“We do take a lot of pride in our defense and I think that really set the tone from the start, even though our outside shots weren’t falling,” O’Boyle said. “The defense kept us going.”
Though they started slow, the offense began clicking behind strong performances from Alaeze and junior forward Camille Calhoun. Alaeze, named to the Atlantic 10’s Preseason All-Conference Third Team, led the team with 12 points on 6-9 shooting, while Calhoun racked up 10 points and seven rebounds, also drawing a number of crucial charging calls against the Camels.
Thorpe added 10 points on 4-14 shooting with two 3-pointers, putting her career 3-point total at 142, just 54 away from the all-time record of 196 set by Anna Pavlikhina in 1993. Adding important production off of the bench, junior guard Chadarryl Clay tallied 10 points, six rebounds, and five assists with a pair of key 3’s to extend the lead in the fourth quarter.
Up next for the Lady Rams after a brief Thanksgiving break, they take on Furman University at the Siegel Center on Nov. 29.
“I am a big believer in rest, and I think we were traveling a bunch and with the tempo we play at their legs need a little bit of rest,” O’Boyle said. “So the break comes at a really good time for us.”
Article by: Richard Paschall, Contributing Writer
Staff Photographer, Julie Tripp
Julie is a junior majoring in photography with a minor in media studies. She is pursuing a career in photojournalism and is taking the spring semester to study photography in Bristol, England. // Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Portfolio