RICHMOND, Va. – Junior forward Courtney Hurt registered her second straight double-double with a team-high 25 points and 12 rebounds and Virginia Commonwealth University held off a second half Winthrop rally and defeated the Eagles, 59-49, in its home opener Wednesday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.
VCU picked up its second straight win against a Big South opponent and improved to 2-0 on the season, while Winthrop dropped to 0-3.
"It was great to be back in the Siegel Center to kick off another season," said VCU Head Coach Beth Cunningham. "I thought the first 30 minutes we did a really good job on both ends of the floor. However, there are certainly things that we need to improve as in the last 10 minutes where we didn't defend how we wanted to and we got a little careless with the basketball. But all in all, it's a good way to start the season here with a win."
Winthrop's Dequesha McLanahan led all scorers with 26 points and went a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line.
A jumper by Dee Gray at the 14:52 mark gave Winthrop an early 8-6 advantage but it was the last time the Eagles would lead. Winthrop, which shot just 28.6 percent from the field in the opening period, kept the score close and pulled within 14-13 with 8:53 showing but VCU responded with a 17-2 run to close the half and took a 31-15 lead into the locker room.
The Rams continued to pressure to start the second period and went on top 41-17 on a layup by Taylor with 15:51 remaining. Down by 18 points with 5:27 to go, Winthrop halted VCU's scoring spree and used a 14-5 spurt spanning 4:41 and cut the Rams' lead to 58-49 with 52 seconds showing.
VCU forced 21 turnovers and held Winthrop to a season-low 29.8 percent shooting, while the Black & Gold shot 42.3 percent from the field.
The Rams are back in action on Sunday, Nov. 21 with 2 p.m. contest at in-state rival Virginia Tech. VCU then enjoys a 10-day hiatus before returning to the Verizon Wireless Arena on Dec. 2 against East Carolina.