VCU’s season-high four-game win streak came to an end Saturday, as the first-place University of Dayton Flyers knocked off the Rams 68-48 at the Siegel Center on senior day.
Following a 57-55 victory against their arch-rivals the University of Richmond Tuesday, the Rams were not able to keep hold of momentum against the conference’s premier team.
The Flyers were in full command for much of the afternoon as VCU struggled all game to impose their will on the visitors. While VCU had 10 players on the score sheet Saturday, not a single Ram was able to break into double digits in scoring, rebounds or assists.
Dayton held an advantage in nearly every major statistical category after holding their hosts to just 26 percent from the field and 16 percent from deep. Redshirt-senior guard GG Goodhope and sophomore guard Katherine Strong led the Rams with nine points each while senior guard Keira Robinson chipped in eight of her own.
From the game’s opening tip, Dayton was in control. The Flyers opened the contest by breaking off a quick 5-0 run in the first 30 seconds of action. In the quarter’s final three minutes, Robinson was able to pull her team back within four of the visitors, but that was the last time the Rams were within five for the rest of the afternoon.
After holding a 17-10 advantage at the conclusion of the first quarter, Dayton continued to pull away. By the end of the half, the visitors were able to extend their lead to double digits and the Flyers never looked back, holding a commanding 31-21 lead heading into the locker room.
During the third period, Dayton put the game away. The visitors started off the quarter by reeling off an impressive 9-0 run against their Black and Gold counterparts. VCU failed to respond by going just 2-14 from the field in the quarter. The Rams never got back within 10.
While they were finally able to find their touch and outscore their opponents in the fourth period for the first time all night, 17-16, the Rams eventually fell by a final score of 68-48. The loss sees VCU drop to 13-11 on the season and 6-5 in conference play, remaining in seventh place in the Atlantic 10.
The Rams won their season-high fourth straight game Tuesday night by knocking off inter-city arch-rival the University of Richmond 57-55, marking VCU’s first season sweep of the Spiders in 18 years.
Although the contest was close in the end, the Rams controlled most of the night by holding the lead for over 31 of the game’s 40 minutes. The Spiders led for less than two-and-a-half.
Graduate transfer guard Mooriah Rowser led the Rams with 15 points, but it was VCU’s bench providing the difference on the night, outscoring their Spider counterparts 21-4. Senior forward Curteeona Brelove chipped in with 7 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Ashley Pegram and Strong contributed nine and eight points off the bench, respectively.
The Rams took command early Tuesday evening, jumping out to a 6-1 lead to start the contest after Brelove scored the game’s first four points. However, Richmond responded by reeling off a 5-0 run of their own to bring the game level with four minutes left in the first quarter. Seconds later, Strong sank the game’s first three-pointer to put VCU back in front. The Rams ultimately held a 16-11 advantage at the end of the game’s opening period.
Following a Richmond three-pointer that pulled the Spiders within two to start the second quarter, Pegram responded with a three of her own, sparking a 5-0 VCU run to give the Rams a commanding 21-14 lead with eight minutes remaining in the first half of action. But, once again, the Spiders responded. After Richmond guard Janelle Hubbard reeled off five straight points, the senior cut VCU’s lead back to two with less than half the period remaining. The Rams were able to hold the Spiders off enough to hold a 31-27 lead going into halftime.
During the third quarter, a fourth-straight Rams victory hung in the balance as the two teams traded punches throughout the stanza. The Spiders were able to use another 5-0 run to bring the game level halfway through the period and were within a single point going into the game’s final frame.
Throughout the fourth quarter, the opposing squads once again traded blow after blow. With just over nine minutes remaining, the Rams relinquished the lead for the first time all night as a Jaide Hinds-Clarke layup gave Richmond a 44-43 advantage.
Seconds later, a Pegram jumper kicked off another quick 5-0 VCU run. The Black and Gold held the lead until, with just over a minute-and-a-half remaining, a Ragan Wiseman three-pointer once again brought the game level at 50 points apiece. But with just 44 seconds left on the clock, Rowser nailed the go-ahead three to put her squad back in front.
Robinson calmly sank four straight free-throws in the game’s closing seconds to secure the Rams their fourth-straight win.
VCU looks to return to their winning ways Wednesday as they head to St. Louis to take on the second-place Billikens at 8 p.m.
Nick Versaw, Staff Writer