Women’s basketball had its home opener spoiled Sunday by the Spartans of Norfolk State University, as the Rams’ in-state rivals from the seven cities downed their Black and Gold opposition by a final of 66-52.
Norfolk State opened the game on an 8-0 run and never relinquished their lead. NSU starting forward Alexys Long led her team in scoring with 17 points on 5-7 shooting from beyond the arc. The Spartans shot 11-26 (42.3 percent) from outside as a team.
VCU sophomore guard Jailyn Maddox led all players with 18 points — no other Ram finished in double figures. Maddox drove the lane aggressively all afternoon, allowing her to compile the impressive point total despite shooting just 2-15 from the field. Maddox drew nine fouls Sunday, resulting in a 13-18 tally from the charity stripe.
Despite Maddox still being an underclassman, she said she expects to take on an increased leadership role following the departure of longtime floor general Keira Robinson, who graduated last spring.
“I think I am definitely going to have to step up in a leadership role, more of a scoring role and improve on my defense this year,” Maddox said. “We are definitely a lot more competitive this year. We are definitely young, but even when we might not know what we are doing, we are still going hard at it.”
Maddox said she’s confident in the young group around her despite their lack of experience. The 2017-18 Rams consist of six freshmen, four sophomores and two juniors.
“We are definitely young, but even when we might not know what we are doing, we are still going hard at it,” Maddox said. “I think that’s what’s really fun about it. When we get into competition drills, you can see the competitiveness come out of everyone.”
VCU freshman guard Tera Reed fell a point short of her first career double-double, tallying nine points on 4-11 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds. Junior forward Bria Gibson was likewise a monster on the glass, racking up 15 boards to accompany nine points.
The Rams will return to action Thursday, Nov. 16 for a road matchup at the University of Minnesota. Their next home game is not until Dec. 6 when the Monarchs of Old Dominion University come calling.
Zach Joachim, Sports Editor