Rams suffer comeback defeat senior night, Richmond wins 59-57

VCU women’s basketball huddles in a timeout against Richmond on Feb. 26. Photo by Shawn Terry

JJ Hendrickson, Contributing Writer

Thai Wilson, Contributing Writer

The VCU women’s basketball team fell to the Richmond Spiders 59-57 on Saturday afternoon at the Stuart C. Siegel Center. 

Coming into this game, the Rams were celebrating their Senior Day. Senior guard Madison Hattix-Covington and graduate guard Taya Robinson were honored before and after the game. Rams head coach Beth O’Boyle said the two have left an impact beyond the box scores in their time at VCU. 

“I’m excited and really grateful for what Taya and Madison have done for our program,” O’Boyle said after the game. “It’s not just about the baskets, and the rebounds, and the wins. They have left their legacy and their mark on the culture of VCU basketball.”

The black and gold started the game off hot on offense, ending the first quarter shooting 44.4% from the field and 66.7% from behind the three-point line. 

The momentum would continue into the second quarter, where the Rams would go on a 16-0 run.

“Each quarter we wanted to try to be more consistent with our scoring and more balanced with it. I think, you know, we definitely started off making some great shots,” O’Boyle said. 

Robinson led the charge going into the half, leading the Rams in scoring with 16 points. She shot 50% from the field and 75% from the three-point line.

“Basketball is a game of runs. That was the biggest thing we wanted to take care of,” Robinson said. 

Although the offense performed efficiently, the story of the first half was the Rams’ defense. The team was able to hold Richmond to just 21 points and 29.6% from the field, while also forcing 10 turnovers. This led to a scoring drought for Richmond that would last for nine minutes and 11 seconds.

The combination of efficient offense and defense led to a lead that was as big as 17 in the second quarter and 10 when the buzzer sounded for halftime. 

In the third quarter, Richmond began to cut into the Rams’ lead little by little. Its defense began to show up, holding VCU to just 10 points on 28.6% from the field and 0% from three. The Spiders would finish the period with a 6-2 run in order to get the lead down to six. 

The fourth quarter was a complete turnaround for the Spiders. Richmond senior forward Emma Squires scored 12 points in the fourth quarter alone. She shot 60% from the field, 50% from the three-point line and 100% from the free-throw line during the period. 

The rest of the team followed Squires’ lead, as it posted a field goal percentage of 69.2% in the final period. Coach O’Boyle said this defensive drop-off came from the Rams struggling offensively. 

“Our offense was putting a lot of pressure on our defense,” O’Boyle said. “I don’t know that we had lost any of the intensity there, it was just more possessions, because we weren’t, you know, flowing as much as we wanted to on the offensive side.”

Even though the Spiders had control of the fourth quarter, Robinson would hit a big three with six seconds left to tie the game. The glory would be short-lived because, after a timeout called by Richmond, Sophomore forward Addie Budnik hit a step-through layup with 1.1 seconds remaining to win the game. 

“Tough shot, you know, we’ll look back at it and see what we got to do,” graduate guard Taya Robinson said.  

After the dramatic finish, Hattix-Covington said the biggest thing she will take away from her time at VCU is her connection with her teammates. 

“The basketball games are one thing, but the off-the-court relationship that we have is something special, and we feel like we created a family here,” Hattix-Covington said. 

VCU hopes to regain its momentum in the upcoming Atlantic 10 tournament, where it will be the fourth seed. Robinson said the team needs to look past the loss to Richmond.

“We just got to learn from what, you know, what we did that we need to work on in the loss, and then a lot of things internally, we’ll fix those up,” Robinson said.

VCU heads into the Atlantic 10 conference playoffs, starting on March 2, with a first round bye. The Rams matchup in the tournament is yet to be determined and will be televised on ESPN+.

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