VCU falls to crosstown rival University of Richmond, 53-37

VCU graduate guard Janika Griffith-Wallace looks to score during a game against Loyola University Chicago. Photo by Kaitlyn Fulmore

Thailon Wilson, Staff Writer

VCU women’s basketball lost to its biggest rival, the University of Richmond, 53-37 in the annual Capital City Classic.

VCU and Richmond have always been at odds with each other ever since the two colleges’ first-ever athletic competition in 1976, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Fans of both teams will travel across the 6.1 mile distance between the schools every time the teams face each other to root for their team to win. 

VCU women’s basketball head coach Beth O’Boyle said it was great to see so many fans come to see the rivalry game.

“It was exciting to see so many fans from Ram Nation for this Richmond-VCU rivalry game,” O’Boyle said.

In this Capital City Classic rivalry matchup, the first two minutes remained scoreless for both teams due to high defensive intensity from both sides. 

Senior forward Mykel Parham made a free throw to make the score 1-0 with six minutes to go in the first quarter, to break the stalemate.

VCU gained the rebound on the missed free throw and put it back to gain a 3-0 lead, but Richmond came right back and scored two back-to-back three-pointers to give themselves a 6-3 lead. 

Both teams ramped the defense up again and neither team was able to score again. VCU freshman guard Mary-Anna Asare scored a layup to decrease the Richmond lead to 6-5 with one minute left in the first quarter.

The quarter ended with Richmond up 6-5 after a highly defensive battle between both teams which led to both teams shooting under 20% from the field, according to Statbroadcast.

Asare said the team really focused on defense during practice and followed the game plan well during the first quarter.

“We really emphasize defense and shutting down the three point line during practice,” Asare said. “I think we executed the game plan well during the first quarter and did a good job as a team.” 

The second quarter started off in the same defensive fashion as the first quarter, with neither team being able to score until VCU redshirt senior Janika Griffith-Wallace scored. This gave VCU the lead at 7-6, with eight minutes left in the second quarter.

The Rams and Spiders started scoring back and forth until Richmond went on a 10-2 run to make the score, 21-13, with one minute left in the half. 

The black and gold weren’t able to score for two minutes until Asare hit a buzzer beater three-pointer to shed Richmond’s lead making it 21-16.

The second half started with Richmond going on a 4-0 run to increase their lead to 25-16, with eight minutes left in the third quarter.

The Rams then went on a 10-0 run of their own with Griffith-Wallace scoring five of those points to give VCU a lead of 26-25, with six minutes to go in the third quarter.

Asare said that it’s great to have Griffith-Wallace on the team to look up to and learn from. 

“I think it’s amazing having her as a role model in my life,” Asare said. “I’m trying to take my game to the next level and having her there as a mentor really helps me.”

Both teams struggled to score for the next four minutes, but the Spiders were able to score five unanswered to give themselves a 30-26 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter.

Griffith-Wallace went on a personal 5-0 run to give VCU the 31-30 lead, but Richmond answered straight back with two back-to-back threes to end the third quarter with a 36-31 lead.

Richmond started the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run to give them a 43-31 lead with six minutes to go in the game. From then on, the Spiders stayed in the driver’s seat to win the game.

After losing to VCU earlier this year, the Spiders claimed the Capital City Classic win 53-37 this year to make the season record tied.

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