November 12, 2010

HURT LEADS VCU TO 65-64 WIN AT HIGH POINT IN SEASON OPENER

HIGH POINT, N.C. – A layup by junior forward Courtney Hurt with 1.4 seconds remaining gave Virginia Commonwealth University a 65-64 victory against High Point University Friday evening at the Millis Center.  Hurt recorded a double-double with a game-high 20 points and 13 rebounds.

High Point took a 64-63 lead on a pair of free throws by Jurica Hargraves with 7.2 seconds left in regulation.  Following the conversion, sophomore guard Jennifer Lane drove the length of the floor and was fouled to set up the game-winning play.  Lane sent an inbounds pass to Hurt, who then converted a layup with 1.4 seconds showing.

"It was an unbelievable effort by our kids tonight," said VCU Head Coach Beth Cunningham.  "So many different kids stepped up in different times and made huge plays for us.  We just didn't quit.  I'm really proud of this team to come down here and play against a very experienced High Point squad.  It was a very tough environment and for us to come in and get this win on the road is a great way to start the season."

Lane scored 14 points, five rebounds and six assists for VCU, while freshman Jacqueline Brewer added 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting from behind the arc.  Redshirt-sophomore Sonia Johnson chipped in five points with nine rebounds and three assists for the Rams.

VCU hit four of its first seven shots from the field and jumped out to a 9-0 lead over the first 3:48.  The Rams then went up 16-6 on a put-back by Hurt with 11:13 to go in the first half.

High Point responded with a 12-2 run spanning three minutes and tied the game at 18-18 on a jumper by Cheyenne Parker with 7:08 showing.  But a 3-pointer by sophomore Robyn Hobson sparked a VCU rally and the Rams reeled off 10 straight points and regained their double-digit advantage on a jumper by Lane with 1:43 left in the opening period.

A pair of High Point free throws over the final 30 seconds of the half pulled the Panthers within eight and VCU took a 30-22 lead into the locker room.

High Point got within 32-30 on a jumper by Shamia Brown with 16:31 to go.  But Hurt gave the Rams a seven-point lead on a layup with 15:09 showing before the Panthers rallied again.

Mackenize Maier gave High Point its first lead of the game at 42-41 on a 3-pointer with 12:11 to go and Erin Reynolds capped off the 17-9 run with a trey and the Panthers went ahead 50-46 at the 9:33 mark.

VCU regained the lead at 55-54 less than four minutes later on a 3-pointer by Brewer.  Amy Dodd pulled High Point within one with 57 seconds to go but sophomore Daphne Adebayo's put-back gave VCU a three-point lead with 25 seconds left.

Erin Reynolds hit a pair of free throws to cut the VCU lead to 63-62 before Hargraves gave the Panthers the lead with 7.2 seconds remaining.

VCU has won six straight season openers and is 7-1 all-time under Cunningham, including a 4-1 mark on the road.  Cunningham's teams are 24-3 during the month of November during her tenure.

The Rams return to the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center for its home opener on Wednesday, Nov. 17.  The Rams host Winthrop at 7 p.m.


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