VCU loses to Dayton, 67-61, in first round of A-10 playoffs

VCU graduate guard Janika Griffith-Wallace looks to score during the game against Dayton University on March 1. Photo by Atlantic 10/Mitchell Leff

Thailon Wilson, Staff Writer

The Rams traveled up to Wilmington, Delaware to face off against the Dayton Flyers in the Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball tournament. 

After a back and forth game, which entailed a comeback from VCU, the Rams fell short on the comeback against Dayton ending the black and gold’s playoff run in the first round.

VCU redshirt senior Janika Griffith-Wallace said regardless of the result, the team has grown so much throughout the season.

“I feel as though we have grown a lot since the beginning of the season,” Griffith-Wallace said. “It is unfortunate that we didn’t get the result we wanted tonight but we are gonna keep sticking together.”

The first quarter with neither team hardly making any leeway against each other and both traded buckets for the entire first quarter. 

During the first quarter, VCU junior guard Sarah Te-Biasu, who had been out for nine games due to a foot injury, entered the game as a substitute.

Te-Biasu said that she was happy to be able to come back to the court and play with her teammates.

“Obviously we didn’t have the result that we wanted, but I’m really proud of my teammates and coaches,” Te-Biasu said. “I was happy to be on the court.”

VCU ended the first quarter with a 14-12 lead.

The Flyers came back in the second quarter and started off the quarter with a 22-2 run which gave the flyers a 34-16 lead with one minute left in the half.

The Flyers also only allowed the Rams to score five more points in the second quarter. This gave the Flyers a 34-21 lead going into the second half.

VCU head coach Beth O’Boyle said during the postgame conference that she talked to her players during halftime about how they had to keep fighting and try to minimize the Flyers’ lead.

“It’s a 14-point game, and we are going to battle this and our goal is to get them to call a timeout and get it[the lead] under 10 and then we’ll play,” O’Boyle said.

The Rams followed O’Boyle’s advice straight-on by starting the third quarter on a 11-4 run, which narrowed down Dayton’s lead to 38-32 with six minutes left in the third quarter.

The comeback effort was fully on for the black and gold as Dayton continued to try to add on to their lead, VCU would score in bunches as well. By the end of the third quarter, the Rams were only down 44-41.

The Rams and Flyers started off the fourth quarter contested until VCU senior forward Chloe Bloom scored a hook shot layup to limit Dayton’s lead to 49-47 with seven minutes left to play.

As Bloom was getting off the ground, she celebrated her basket and was called for her second technical foul of the game which led to her ejection to the bench. 

The Flyers were awarded two technical free throws in which Dayton senior guard Sydney Freeman knocked both of them down. 

Freeman then hit a three pointer after the free throws which would change the momentum of the game in Dayton’s favor with a 54-47 point lead with six minutes left. 

The Rams weren’t able to reach the comeback before the final whistle was blown, and the game ended with the Flyers winning 67-61.

O’Boyle said regardless of the loss, she was happy with the growth that she saw in her players this season.

“I’m so proud of their heart and their effort,” O’Boyle said. “I told them that they represent VCU the best way possible.”

Looking back on the season, O’Boyle said the commitment the players showed was admirable even after suffering close losses. 

“You watch how we played today and the results are happening, but the way we defended and took the lessons from previous losses to the next game,” O’Boyle said. “It’s a credit to our coaching staff and our players for staying committed.”

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