Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Junior guard Tera Reed stood at the free-throw line with 999 career points after being fouled on a layup attempt. She took a deep breath, then went through her routine with the milestone one made free-throw away.
The first shot danced around the rim and didn’t fall. But the second one did, and she eclipsed the mark.
“It’s a really good feeling,” Reed said on scoring her 1,000th point. “I’m really happy and excited. It’s a cool thing to accomplish.”
Reed, an Auckland, New Zealand, native, has been the team’s leading scorer since her freshman season. Friday night was no different. She logged a team-high 14 points as the Rams beat Richmond 53-50 at the Siegel Center.
The Rams extended their winning streak to four games, all in Atlantic 10 play.
“We always know when it’s Richmond and VCU,” coach Beth O’Boyle said, “the records don’t matter, the arena doesn’t matter. It’s going to be a battle.”
The final 20 seconds of the contest were so, as the Spiders almost completed the comeback from behind.
Junior guard Taya Robinson nailed the go-ahead floater with 20 seconds off the in-bounds pass, forcing the Spiders to call a timeout.
“The lane was wide open, and I was like, ‘Please go in,’” Robinson said of her go-ahead shot.
Richmond turned the ball over under the basket after a timeout, and the Rams were able to call a timeout of their own to keep the possession.
Just when the black and gold thought they escaped without any fireworks, Richmond forced a turnover on the Rams’ in-bounds pass. Seconds later, senior guard Nyra Williams drew a charge to get the ball back for the black and gold.
“She was like the linebacker as the running back was coming through,” O’Boyle said. “That’s a game-winning play.”
The Rams took control early in the contest, using a 6-0 run led by sophomore guard Kseniya Malashka. Malashka recorded four of the six points for the black and gold during the stretch.
VCU’s chaos defense held the Spiders scoreless for several stretches, including a span that lasted just over four minutes late in the second quarter. During that stretch, the Rams forced six of their 11 first-half turnovers.
The Rams limited Richmond to shooting 33% from the field in the first half, while recording a 38% clip from the field.
Richmond opened the second half on a 12-1 run to take a 5-point lead on the black and gold. During the run, the Rams went through a scoring drought for longer than two minutes.
The Spiders outscored the black and gold 18-10 in the third quarter, but the Rams closed the door on Richmond in the final period, outscoring them 17-12.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Spiders used a 9-2 run to take a single-point lead. During Richmond’s run, the Rams were held off the scoreboard for just over 3 1/2 minutes and turned the ball over four times in that span.
The Rams finished the night shooting 37% from the field, including 17% from deep. The poor shooting night from deep didn’t hurt the black and gold as they limited Richmond to shooting 41% from the field and only 26% from three.
The Rams hit the road to play the University of Massachusetts on Jan. 22 at 5 p.m.