Women’s basketball ‘excited’ to play in A-10 tournament at home

Freshman guard Sarah Te-Biasu dribbles at the Stuart C. Siegel Center during the 2020-21 season. Photo by Megan Lee

Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor

When women’s basketball takes the court Thursday, it will have been 11 days since the team last played. The Rams will enter the Atlantic 10 tournament as the No. 5 seed, playing on the home floor at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.

“There’s a special feeling to be playing in March,” coach Beth O’Boyle said. “There’s been so much adversity and things this year and just that first step to get on the court and say, ‘Hey, we’re playing for an NCAA tournament bid.’”

VCU, who was picked to finish first in the A-10 preseason poll, will start its postseason run in the second round of the A-10 tournament on Thursday at 2 p.m., facing the winner of No. 12 Davidson and No. 13 St. Bonaventure.

Familiar confines

The A-10 tournament is being played at the Siegel Center this season, continuing its tradition of rotating campus sites. 

“I think it’s great to be in our own beds and shoot on our own rims and have some of the comforts of being at home,” O’Boyle said. “There’s definitely an excitement to be in the Stu for the tournament.”

The team will stay in a hotel Wednesday night leading up to their first game and will stay there during their run in the tournament, complying with tournament policy and COVID-19 precautions, O’Boyle said. 

Second round opponent

The Rams will square off with Davidson or St. Bonaventure in the second round of the tournament. 

VCU didn’t play Davidson this season as the game was postponed due to the second COVID-19 pause within the VCU program. It was not rescheduled. The Rams beat the Wildcats 58-52 in their first game of last season’s A-10 tournament. 

“You don’t ever usually go into an environment having not played your conference opponent at least once,” O’Boyle said. “This is just one of the added bonuses of … the COVID year of things that we’re just adjusting to. So, we’re preparing for both teams.”

The Rams beat St. Bonaventure on the road in New York 69-67 in overtime on Jan. 10. Senior forward Sydnei Archie led the black and gold with 17 points and 10 rebounds. 

The top four

No. 1 Dayton

The Rams lost their lone matchup with the Flyers 67-62 on the road on Feb. 14. The game was tight at the end after VCU went on a 10-0 run to pull within 2 points of Dayton. The black and gold shot 36.4% from the field, including the same clip beyond the 3-point line. 

Robinson logged a team-high 18 points, including knocking down all six free throws. Junior guard Janika Griffith-Wallace added 12 points in the loss. 

No. 2 Fordham

The battle of the Rams didn’t happen during the regular season, as it was postponed due to COVID-19 and was not rescheduled. 

Last season, VCU beat Fordham twice, including in the A-10 semifinals 60-55 on March 7, 2020. In that meeting, Robinson led the team with 22 points and Reed added 12 points. 

No. 3 Saint Louis

The black and gold fell to the Billikens 66-50 on the road on Feb. 12. Saint Louis outscored VCU 32-10 in the fourth quarter to put the game away. The Rams shot 29% from the field, including 23.5% from deep in the contest. 

Robinson carried the load in the game, scoring 18 points and recording eight rebounds. 

No. 4 Rhode Island

VCU lost to Rhode Island in the season finale 87-68 on the road Feb. 28. The black and gold were efficient from the field, shooting 45.6%. 

Robinson logged a team-high 18 points and Griffith-Wallace added 17 points in the loss.

The Rams will play the winner between Davidson and St. Bonaventure on Thursday at 2 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN+. 

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