Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
For VCU’s women’s basketball, going into overtime in Atlantic 10 play is anticipated. Thursday night’s game against La Salle fit that trend.
The Rams beat the Explorers 63-62 at the Stuart C. Siegel Center in overtime, the fourth A-10 overtime game of the season for the black and gold.
“I just think they love playing basketball, they want those couple of extra minutes,” said head coach Beth O’Boyle. “I think we just expect to be in games all the way through and we’re going to make big plays.”
Redshirt-junior guard Madison Hattix-Covington led the Rams with 15 points and nine rebounds.
“She led us in offensive rebounds, she leaked out and got to the rim,” O’Boyle said of Hattix-Covington. “The intensity that she played with tonight really got us going.”
It was a back-and-forth affair to start; each basket the Rams made, the Explorers had an answer to level the score.
La Salle used a 6-0 run in the first quarter to take a 2-point lead. During the run, the Explorers held the Rams scoreless for almost four minutes and forced three VCU turnovers.
Redshirt-sophomore forward Samantha Robinson ended the run, nailing two free throws.
Late in the second quarter, the Rams used an 8-0 run to retake the lead. Freshman guard Sarah Te-Biasu and senior guard Taya Robinson both knocked down 3-pointers during the run. The Rams started 4-for-4 from deep in the game.
The Rams closed the half, holding the Explorers off the board for the final two minutes.
In the third quarter, the Rams and Explorers traded baskets back and forth. La Salle was able to inch closer to the black and gold’s lead as they closed the quarter on a 6-2 run to pull within one.
Kayla Spruill powered the Explorer run with all six points — all layups. She logged 27 points on the night to lead La Salle.
The Explorers took the lead early in the fourth quarter, scoring the first 4 points in the period. The lead didn’t last long, as Hattix-Covington hit a layup and then knocked down a 3-pointer.
The Rams were held scoreless for just under the final three minutes of regulation. Reed sent the game to overtime, blocking a layup attempt from Spruill, with less than five seconds remaining.
La Salle opened overtime with a 3-pointer before the black and gold answered with a pair of layups to take a 1-point lead.
As the Rams trailed by one with a minute left, Te-Biasu stole the ball and passed it up court to Hattix-Covington for a layup to retake the lead.
O’Boyle said the steal play at the end of the game was something the team prepared for in their walkthrough, a practice held the day before a game to go over the game plan.
“I kept telling the team ‘we need to get a stop, we need to get a score,’” Hattix-Covington said. “When the team did what they did on defense, I just ran out for it and Sarah … she saw me up court.”
VCU out-rebounded La Salle 40-30, including 12-9 on the offensive glass.
The Rams are back in action on Saturday against St. Joesph’s at 7:30 p.m. at the Siegel Center. The game will be televised on ESPN+.