Women’s basketball defeated conference rivals the University of Massachusetts at Amherst on Saturday at the Siegel Center by a final of 55-52. Freshman guard Jailyn Maddox scored a career-high 15 points, pushing the Rams to their third consecutive Atlantic 10 victory.
Maddox said her confidence has been growing as she adjusts to the speed of the collegiate game.
“The coaches have been getting on to me and my teammates about shooting the ball so whenever it comes to me, I plan on taking it,” Maddox said. “We just need to keep staying focused and keep playing defense since that is where it all starts.”
Senior guard Isis Thorpe joined Maddox in double figures with 10 points, and added five assists and four steals. Junior forward Curteeona Brelove had a team-high 10 rebounds to go along with four points and three blocks.W
Senior guards Thorpe, Keira Robinson, and GG Goodhope took the floor along side Brelove and graduate student Mooriah Rowser.
Brelove made the first shot for VCU at the 7:45 mark, tieing the game at 2-2 before UMass put together a flurry of offensive rebounds and second chance baskets. The first period came to a close with the Minutewomen leading by a score of 17-6 .
VCU began the second period with Goodhope, Robinson, Thorpe, Rowser, and Brelove on the floor. Rowser went to the line on the Rams first possession out of the break and made two free throw attempts to bring the rams back, 17-8.
Maddox made a three-pointer from the wing after an offensive rebound to bring her Rams within six.
After free throws from Rowser and a mid-range jumper from Thorpe, Maddox converted another three to give the Rams their first lead of the day, 18-17.
The sides traded baskets for the final minutes of the first half, and the second period came to a close with VCU leading 23-22.
Rowser, Goodhope, Thorpe, Robinson and Brelove took the floor at the start of the third period.
Maddox, Goodhope and Rowser continued to crash the glass and afford the Rams ample second chance opportunities. Thorpe hit a three pointer to give VCU a 36-32 lead before UMass called a timeout with just over three minutes left in the period.
The Rams put together a run as the third period drew to a close thanks to a pair of Goodhope three pointers. The third period ended with VCU leading 43-35.
Goodhope, Thorpe, Robinson, Maddox and Brelove started the fourth quarter for VCU.
UMass made a valiant an effort at a comeback effort in the fourth quarter, and trailed VCU 48-45 with two minutes remaining thanks to an all-out defensive effort down the stretch.
Goodhope sank another three-pointer with 32 seconds remaining to give her Rams a 52-49 lead before the Minutewomen called their final timeout. VCU converted their free throws after UMass began to foul in order to stop the clock, and were able to hang on for a nail biting 55-52 victory.
“UMass is a tough team and I am proud that we stayed sold for 40 minutes and we were able to earn a tough win,” said head coach Beth O’Boyle. “I was proud of the team.”
The Rams will take a short trip across town to take on the University of Richmond on Jan. 31 before returning home to welcome the University of Dayton to the stew on Feb. 4.
Jessica Wetzler, Contributing Writer