Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
The Rams knocked off Buffalo 61-55 at the Siegel Center on Thursday night, closing the contest with a 13-3 run. The match was VCU’s only home appearance in its first 10 games.
Freshman guard Sarah Te-Biasu, who was named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week after just three collegiate games, sparked the Rams late in the fourth quarter against Buffalo.
Te-Biasu broke a six-and-a-half-minute VCU field goal drought with a layup to pull the Rams within two of the Bulls. She added a 3-pointer from the right wing to pull the black and gold within one then stole the ball seconds later.
That steal led to a 3-point play from senior guard Taya Robinson to take the lead. Te-Biasu went coast to coast moments later, pushing the Rams’ lead to four and out of Buffalo’s reach.
“I think Sarah plays like a veteran point guard,” redshirt-junior guard Madison Hattix-Covington said of Te-Biasu. “Coming in as a freshman, point guard is one of the hardest positions to play. Coach gives her something and she goes out there and does it, whether it’s on offense or defense.”
Te-Biasu finished with 10 points, all in the fourth quarter of play.
Robinson, who scored a team-high 20 points, nailed three shots from the line late in the game.
“I think Taya did a great job at the end, getting to the foul line,” coach Beth O’Boyle said of Robinson. “We needed those baskets to give us a little bit of a breather and those were huge, clutch free throws down the stretch. That’s where we wanted the ball to be, in her hands.”
The black and gold shot 19-26 from the free-throw line. O’Boyle said those baskets secured their lead late in the game.
“I have a ton of confidence, and they’ve earned it from the foul line,” O’Boyle said.
The Rams jumped out to a quick start, nailing four of their first five 3-pointers. Senior guard Taya Robinson converted on her first three attempts, all from the right wing.
VCU went cold at the end of the first quarter, remaining scoreless for just over three minutes. Buffalo used that to its advantage, going on a 4-0 run to pull within one. The Rams committed four turnovers during the drought.
The Rams went on a 6-0 run in the second quarter with field goals from Hattix-Covington and fellow redshirt-junior guard Janika Griffith-Wallace, as well as a pair from Robinson.
Buffalo’s defense responded with a 9-0 run, holding the Rams scoreless for over four and a half minutes at the end of the first half.
The Rams cut into Buffalo’s 5-point lead, pulling within three at the half.
For most of the third quarter, the two teams traded baskets back and forth. Buffalo jumped on a 7-0 run to earn a 3-point lead, holding the Rams off the board for just under three and a half minutes.
The Rams shooting went cold again early in the fourth quarter for just over three minutes. Then, they traded free throws for Buffalo baskets until Te-Biasu led the game-winning run.
VCU shot 31% from the field but held the Bulls to shooting 27%, including 26% from deep. The Rams won the battle on the glass, out-rebounding the Bulls 49-44.
The Rams are back in action Dec. 6 at Old Dominion. Tipoff is at 2 p.m.