Arrick Wilson, Sports Editor
In the first round of the National Invitational Tournament, the VCU women’s basketball program defeated the Stony Brook Seawolves, 90-79.
In the post-game press conference, VCU head coach Beth O’Boyle said she was pleased with the team’s “effort” in advancing to the next round of the NIT tournament.
“It was a great team effort, really hard-fought win. And when you’re playing in March, you know, there’s no bad teams, and that you got to be ready,” O’Boyle said. “I just thought we continue to stay locked in — a big piece of that is the leadership of Taya [Robinson] and Madison [Hattix-Covington] today on the floor, they were fantastic.”
It was graduate guard Taya Robinson’s show again for the black and gold, scoring 20 points, while shooting 42% from the field. Along with leading the game in points, Robinson had nine rebounds in the 38 minutes she played.
The Rams second leading scorer sophomore guard Sarah Te-Biasu, who had limited minutes. The Montreal, Canada native did not start in tonight’s game, only playing 23 minutes.
“She’s [Te-Biasu] coming off of an injury, she got hurt in practice on Monday so she hadn’t practiced this week,” O’Boyle said. “You can tell she [Te-Biasu], I think, did a great job from a mental standpoint to not practice all week, and then come out and play that way.”
Te-Biasu scored eight points and three rebounds, while redshirt senior guard Janika Griffith-Wallace also had eight points.
It was a tight contest at “The Stu” in the first half, creating eight lead changes and seven instances where both teams tied. After holding the lead in the first quarter, a three-pointer by Stony Brook guard Anastasia Warren took the lead over for the Seawolves, where the team would end the half leading 29-27.
At the half, VCU shot around 31.6% from the field, while Stony Brook shot 47.8%, which was due to Stony Brook’s 58.3% second quarter, scoring 18 points taking the lead.
VCU Graduate guard Madison Hattix-Covington said that the team wanted to win on the home floor after losing the last home game.
“We went out against Richmond with a loss, we obviously didn’t want to lose it again. So we knew they wanted it bad, but we also, you know, I think we want to know more.”
In the second half, the black and gold came back outscoring the Seawolves, 29-19 cruising to a win in the “Stu.” The defense came to play in the third quarter, holding the Seawolves to eight points, while shooting 15.4% from the field. Graduate guard Taya Robinson said executing on both offense and defense led to the win.
“You defend harder, you want to take good shots, you want to take care of the ball,” Robinson said.
With five minutes left in the game, the black and gold went on a 9-0 run, creating the team’s largest lead of the game with eight points. This run led the Rams’ win over the Seawolves, as Stony Brook had no answer for the black and gold’s defense. O’Boyle said second half adjustments led to the victory.
“We needed to make sure that we were much more organized in our transition. And we wanted to hold them you know, in those 20% field goal percentage, and I think a big piece of that was our activeness and our zone mixing that up,” O’Boyle said. “We knew we had 20 minutes that we could keep playing.”
With this win, the Rams have advanced to the second round of the NIT, where Robinson hopes to keep the season alive.
“We want to keep playing with our team as long as we can,” Robinson said.
VCU will face Seton Hall in the second round of the NIT on March 21 at the Walsh Gymnasium in South Orange, N.J.