Andy Riddler, Contributing Writer
Women’s Basketball’s dream season came to a close Sunday in Blacksburg, as the Rams lost to Virginia Tech 72-82 in the second round of the WNIT.
Sophomore guard Tera Reed led VCU in scoring with 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting and tried to keep up with Tech’s offense, tallying 11 first-half points for the Rams.
“I think Tera [Reed] really kick-started our offense,” said coach Beth O’Boyle. “We talked about the ability of our guards to score on them … and Tera [Reed] can just score in a variety of ways.”
The Rams shot well in the first half — nearly 43 percent. But it was ultimately their defense that cost the game, as they allowed Virginia Tech a 63.6 shooting percentage in the second quarter.
VCU went into halftime trailing 41-30 following a Hokies offensive outburst in the second quarter when they connected on 80 percent of their 3-point attempts.
“I thought we had tremendous defense for the majority of the game,” O’Boyle said. “And there was that couple of stretches in that second quarter when we weren’t as locked in as we had been.”
VCU showed signs of life in the third quarter with two runs to close the gap to single digits. One run spanned about three minutes after the halfway mark, during which VCU went on a 9-5 run sparked by two 3-point shots from sophomore guard Olga Petrova.
“Olga is such a pure shooter,” O’Boyle said. “She came in and she hit those big couple of threes. It was really stretching them out.”
VCU also gained some momentum toward the end of the third quarter — the Rams ended on a 6-1 run sparked by sophomore guard Taya Robinson to head into the fourth quarter down 7. Robinson finished the game with 13 points and three rebounds.
“I thought we came back in the second half and really put the pressure on them,” O’Boyle said. “When we cut it to 7, I thought if we could get it to 2 or 4 that they would really start to feel it. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out for us today.”
VCU never caught up; the Hokies stretched their lead to as many as 20 points in the final frame.
VCU’s season ends with 24 wins, just two short of the program record set in 2008-09, and a 17-win improvement over last season.
“Last year we learned a lot from our adversity and not doing well,” O’Boyle said. “Now this year, what can we learn from this …You want to use this as a building block to hopefully take the next step next year.”