Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Freshman guard Sarah Te-Biasu made 13 free throws in a row at the first practice back from women’s basketball’s COVID-19 quarantine period.
The extra work came in handy in VCU’s 64-57 overtime win on Friday against Rhode Island in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.
Te-Biasu made four free throws in the extra period to extend the VCU lead and put the game out of reach.
“At the end of the game, the ball, I trust it being in her hands,” coach Beth O’Boyle said of Te-Biasu. “She steps up to that foul line and it’s going to be nothing but net.”
In the second quarter, the black and gold took control with a 14-3 run to close the half to take a 3-point lead. VCU held Rhode Island without a point for the final four minutes of the period.
“The message was to get stops,” senior guard Taya Robinson said. “We were getting those stops, they were getting those second chance points, so we were trying to box out and make sure they don’t get those second chance points.”
During the scoring outburst, Robinson hit two 3-pointers and a jumper to lead the black and gold. She finished the game with 24 points and seven rebounds.
VCU limited Rhode Island to only 7 points in the second quarter after giving up 20 in the first.
“I think it was that refocus again, like ‘hey, we can really pack it in and really force them to shoot from the outside,’” O’Boyle said. “You could see it every possession that was going down there, they were working so hard and so committed to be in there for each other.”
The black and gold went on a 6-0 run to close the third quarter, holding URI scoreless for the final five minutes of the period. VCU forced four turnovers during the burst.
Rhode Island used a 6-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to pull within 4 points of VCU.
With less than a minute in the game, Rhode Island’s 3-point attempt missed the mark and VCU was able to force a shot clock violation, giving the black and gold the ball.
On VCU’s possession, sophomore forward Chloe Bloom’s layup missed, but was grabbed by Robinson. Robinson was fouled, Rhode Island stole the ball and was fouled on the other end.
Rhode Island’s Catherine Cairns hit two free throws to tie the game with less than 10 seconds to play.
Robinson had a shot attempt in the final second of play but it missed, leaving the game tied at 54 points. She nailed a 3-pointer to open the overtime period.
“The message throughout the game never changed,” Bloom said of the overtime period. “It was to play our game and to get stops.”
In overtime, the black and gold got the stops they were looking for, holding Rhode Island to 3 points. The 3-pointer that Rhode Island converted came in the final 45 seconds of the period.
VCU out-rebounded Rhode Island 40-39, including 14-12 on the offensive end.
“Rebounding was really important,” Bloom said. “Finishing off the defensive possession with a rebound was huge and some of our offensive rebounds were huge to fuel us and our offense.”
VCU will play top-seeded Dayton in the A-10 tournament semifinals Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.