In the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament, senior guard Keira Robinson dropped 16 points and senior guard G.G. Goodhope added 15 Sunday as VCU closed an early 11-point deficit to defeat the University of Richmond 72-64 at the Siegel Center.
The victory extended VCU’s season by at least five days. The eighth-seeded Rams (16-14) earned a berth in Friday’s A-10 Tournament quarterfinals at the Coliseum. VCU will face top-seeded Dayton.
The Rams grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and had a 15-2 edge in second chance points over Richmond. VCU outrebounded Richmond 34-29.
“I think this is exactly what A-10 basketball should look like,” said coach Beth O’Boyle. “You add in a Richmond, VCU game and there’s just so much energy and intensity to it. We played extremely well in the second half. We came out at halftime and really started to attack the rim and attack their zone.”
VCU got off to a slow start, shooting 39 percent from the field and struggling to attack the glass, putting the Rams behind 35-32 going into the locker room.
Come second half and the Rams were ready to play.
VCU scored on five of its last six possessions of the third period, including post player junior forward Curteeona Brelove’s layup at the buzzer, to carry a 49-43 lead into the fourth period. Brelove, who had missed VCU’s previous two games with an apparent head injury, scored 10 points for the Black and Gold.
VCU’s lead got as large as 52-43 after a Thorpe 3-pointer to begin the final quarter but Richmond used a 10-4 run to cut the lead to 56-53.
The Spiders came close but were never able to tie the game or retake the lead.
UofR shot 60.9 percent (14-23) in the first half. VCU did much of its damage beneath the glass. The Rams turned eight offensive rebounds into seven second-chance points.
VCU shut down Davidson after Robinson and sophomore forward Bria Gibson shined during the final game of the regular season. Robinson and Gibson each scored in double figures to help the Rams close the regular season and take home the win.
Davidson jumped out to an 8-0 lead to start off the game, but VCU returned with a 10-3 run to end the first quarter.
VCU later took on its first lead of the game at the 7:44 mark in the second quarter off of a layup by senior guard Isis Thorpe to bring the score up 14-13.
Davidson was able to retake a slim lead halfway through the second quarter after a short cold spell for the Rams, but a long range shot from Goodhope tied the game at 19-19.
The Wildcats took a 23-20 lead going into the second half.
VCU went into the fourth quarter leading 39-32 after going on a 10-1 run to end the third quarter. Gibson was responsible for four points in that time span while Robinson added two field goals of her own.
Davidson started the fourth quarter the same way they started the first, going on a 9-2 run to tie the game at 41-41.
VCU closed the game out on a 13-4 run, with a bulk of the run coming off from seven points by Robinson in the last two minutes of the game. The Rams used a 9-2 run late in the fourth quarter to turn a 41-41 tie into a 50-43 lead with just 46 seconds left in the game.
Not only did Robinson come away with a team-high of 13 points and eight rebounds, Robinson also assisted on three baskets and shot 4-of-6 from the line.
Gibson scored 12 points, going 4-of-6 from the field and pulled down a team-high nine rebounds in the process. Gibson is also tied her career-high in steals with three.
Overall, VCU came down with 15 offensive rebounds and scored 15 second chance points. The Rams also out rebounded the Wildcats 43-30 and won the offensive rebound battle 15-7, forcing 16 Davidson turnovers and scored 19 points off turnovers.
Gibson had three of the Rams’ eight steals, with Goodhope and senior guard Ashlee Mitchell adding two each.
VCU’s defense limited Davidson to shoot just 13 percent from beyond the arc.
The Black and Gold ended their regular season with a total of 15 wins and eight A-10 conference wins. VCU broke its single-season attendance record and averaged over 1,000 fans per game during the season.
VCU will face No. 1 seed Dayton in the Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championship Second Round on Friday, March 3 at 11 a.m. the Richmond Coliseum. The last time Dayton faced VCU in early February, the Flyers defeated VCU 68-48 in the Siegel Center.
The Flyers shared the A-10 regular-season championship with George Washington. They earned the No. 1 seed via tiebreaker.
Sophia is a junior journalism major pursuing a minor in gender, sexuality and women’s studies. She enjoys writing about current events and sports, and hopes to one day be a sports reporter covering soccer, basketball and/or baseball. You can usually find Sophia drinking way too much coffee and laughing at her own jokes.
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Jessica Wetzler, Contributing Writer