Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Women’s Basketball defeated Saint Louis Sunday afternoon 57-47 as sophomore forwards Danielle Hammond and Sydnei Archie combined for 22 points.
“What a tremendous win, I think Saint Louis is a very good team,” coach Beth O’Boyle said. “We knew that we were going to have to play well for all 40 minutes to come out with a big win. Really proud of our team effort tonight.”
VCU came off a Jan. 23 loss at George Washington, which ended its seven-game win streak.
“We were just disappointed about the loss,” Archie said on the approach to Sunday’s game. “We just wanted to come in and not lose two times in a row.”
The Rams and Billikens traded buckets to open up the game as Saint Louis’ Ciaja Harbinson struck first and Archie answered with a bucket of her own.
Kerri McMahan made two baskets in a row for Saint Louis to put the Billikens up four early in the first quarter. VCU pulled within two when a scoring drought set in for both teams until sophomore guard Taya Robinson made a basket, ending the Rams drought at just over two minutes.
Freshman forward Kseniya Malashka broke the tie with a 3-pointer from the top of the key, giving the Rams the lead.
Sophomore center Sofya Pashigoreva helped build the early VCU lead as she accounted for seven points in a row for the Rams, putting the team up six.
Pashigoreva finished with seven points, seven rebounds and one steal.
“I think [Pashigoreva] had struggled in the last couple games and it was great to see her be aggressive,” O’Boyle said. “From a defensive standpoint, she’s been such a huge part of our success so far. I think sometimes you get caught up and it’s just about scoring and she really rebounds and defends, but today she just did a little bit of everything.”
Robinson took over in the second quarter, scoring seven points and extending the Rams’ lead to 11.
VCU held Saint Louis to shooting 25 percent from the field, including 0-for-3 from beyond the arc.
Hammond was a force to be reckoned with in the third quarter as she led the Rams on an 11-0 run to close out the quarter. She accounted for eight of the 11 points, as she went 3-3 from the free throw line during the run.
“I think a lot of times it’s hard for teams to defend [Hammond], especially one on one,” O’Boyle said. “She just has a fantastic touch around the basket … She’s just playing with such confidence and her teammates have a lot of confidence in her too.”
In the fourth quarter, VCU went cold from the field, but got the job done from the free throw line.
The Rams closed the game out down the stretch going 9-for-10 in the final quarter from the free-throw line.
Archie was a perfect 3-for-3 from the line in the game as VCU combined to shoot 19-for-25 from the stripe.
“I’ve been struggling from the free-throw line for the past couple games, so I been just working on it and working on it,” Archie said. “I think I was pretty confident walking up to the free-throw line this game … I was just trying to make sure I got my touch right.”