The VCU women’s basketball team left Daytona Beach, Florida 2-0, extending their overall record to 4-2. VCU beat American University 68-62 Thursday and Villanova University 68-66 Friday in the San Juan Shootout Tournament.
After nine lead changes, coach Beth O’Boyle and the Rams finished on top against the Wildcats in a close 68-66 VCU win.
Redshirt-senior guard GG Goodhope led the way for the Rams, pouring in 16 points while dishing out four assists en route to a VCU victory.
The Wildcats pounced early — thanks to excellent perimeter shooting, Nova was able to build a 10 point lead by the end of the first quarter.
The Wildcats made four 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes while the Rams struggled to connect from behind the arc. Villanova shot 53 percent from the floor compared to VCU’s 39 percent.
After entering the second quarter down 25-15, VCU’s deficit grew as wide as 12 points. A Goodhope field goal in the last seven minutes sparked a 12-2 VCU run — the Rams entered the locker room down 34-32.
O’Boyle and her girls carried their momentum into the third quarter, capturing their first lead since early in the first period. A jump shot by Goodhope put the Rams up 40-38 with 6:52 remaining.
The Rams’ lead grew as large as seven points with 1:35 left in the third, however, VCU didn’t stay ahead for long. A 3-pointer and some timely free throws by Villanova made up a 7-0 Wildcat run in the last 1:17 of the quarter. The Wildcats tied the game at 55-55.
The game went back and forth several times in the last quarter, but a string of solid free throws by Goodhope and senior guard Keira Robinson in the final seconds iced the game for the Rams.
VCU held a 39-29 edge in rebounds and a 15-9 advantage in points off turnovers. Sophomore forward Bria Gibson had nine points and a team-high 11 rebounds.
“It was a tremendous team effort against a very good Villanova team,” O’Boyle said. “Villanova has the ability to really score from the outside and I thought our team executed our game plan well and made made some big plays down the stretch.”
The Black and Gold kicked off the tournament with a 68-62 win over American on Thanksgiving day.
VCU’s backcourt carried them. Robinson and graduate guard Mooriah Rowser led the Rams with 18 and 13 points, respectively. Gibson also had a standout performance in the victory, contributing 10 points and eight rebounds of her own.
The Rams and Eagles kept each other within arms’ reach the first 7:30 of the game, as neither team was able to push their advantage to more than four points. With 2:13 left in the first quarter, VCU nursed a 12-11 lead before going on a 7-0 run to end the quarter. The run featured three American turnovers and the game’s first 3-pointer courtesy of sophomore guard Katherine Strong.
American started the second quarter at a fast pace, rolling off eight quick points of their own and only allotting VCU two. The Eagles narrowed the score 21-19 and gained the momentum they needed to briefly take a 26-25 lead. Throughout the quarter, both teams remained neck and neck and finished the half tied 30-30.
American kept VCU on its heels in the second half. The Eagles went on a run out of the locker room with back-to-back 3-pointers. Down 38-31, VCU responded with a team effort — six different Rams contributed points during a 16-6 run. The Rams captured the lead and entered the final quarter up 47-44.
American opened the final quarter on a 6-2 run to retake the lead. However, a couple of timely field goals from Rowser stymied the Eagles’ momentum. From there, VCU’s lead expanded to nine points at the 3:26 mark after numerous turnovers and missed shots by AU’s offense — the Rams never looked back.
Clutch free throw shooting by Robinson and senior guard Ashley Pegram captured the game for VCU in the final minutes.
“The team showed great composure down the stretch to earn a hard-fought win,” O’Boyle said.
The Rams outrebounded the Eagles 40-29 and were able to garner 19 second chance points compared to American’s seven. Robinson lead the team in points with 18 while Goodhope lead in assists with six.
The Rams return home to the Siegel Center Wednesday. Tipoff is set for noon against Iona College.
Adrian Wilson, Contributing Writer
Julie is a senior studying photography with a minor in media studies. This is her third year working with the CT, and she spent last summer interning for Richmond Magazine. Last semester, Julie spent a semester abroad studying photography at The University of the West of England. After Julie graduates she plans on pursuing a career as a photojournalist for print and online publications.
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