RICHMOND, Va. – Senior forward Courtney Hurt posted her fifth straight double-double with a game-high 30 points and 16 rebounds, while classmate Andrea Barbour finished with 12 points and 11 boards to lead VCU to a 74-66 victory against Coppin State Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.
VCU (6-3) held an 18-point advantage with 5:35 to go but the Eagles chipped away and eventually pulled within 72-64 with 1:21 left. It was as close as Coppin State would get, however, as Hurt, who shot 60-percent from the field, while adding a team-best five steals, two assists and a pair of blocks, put the Rams back up by 10 on the ensuing possession.
The Black & Gold held a commanding 52-31 advantage on the glass, totaling its fourth-highest single-game mark since logging 60 against Arkansas State on Nov. 20, 2009. VCU has outrebounded its last two opponents by an average of 16 boards per game.
Freshman Christina Carter chipped in a career-high 10 points and matched her career-best with six assists, while senior Chelsea Snyder added eight points and eight rebounds in just 13 minutes off the bench.
VCU picked up its third straight win and sixth in its last eight outings, while Coppin State (2-8) dropped its fifth in a row. However, five of the Eagles' eight losses this year have come against schools from power conferences, including a six-point setback at Syracuse on Dec. 10.
Coppin State scored five quick points just 30 seconds into the contest and held an 11-6 lead, its largest of the day, at the 16:20 mark. The Rams pulled within one on a layup by Hurt two minutes later and eventually took their first lead at 14-13 on a basket from Barbour with 12:14 showing.
The lead would change hands four more times over the next three minutes until a layup from freshman Aprill McRae with 9:09 to go put VCU back in front for good. The Rams would go on to use a 20-6 run spanning 6:12 and built a 38-25 advantage on a free throw by Hurt with three minutes left in the half. VCU held a double-digit advantage the rest of the period and took a 40-28 lead into the locker room.
McRae pushed VCU's lead to 45-30 at the line four minutes into the second stanza, but Coppin State scored seven of the next eight points to pull within nine with 13:32 left.
VCU quickly went back up by 14 on a triple from junior Carleeda Green less than three minutes later but Coppin State wouldn't go away quietly and Leola Spotwood again cut the deficit to 59-51 with 8:09 remaining.
The Black & Gold weathered the storm and reeled off 12 of the next 14 to build its largest lead of the game, 71-53, on a 3-pointer by Carter with 5:35 to go. However, the Eagles continued to fight and used an 11-1 spurt to pull within eight less than four minutes later. A basket by Hurt extended VCU's lead to 74-64 with a minute remaining, which put the game out of reach.
Whittington paced Coppin State with a team-high 18 points, while Ashle Craig added 16 and Shawntae Payne chipped in 10 off the bench.
VCU returns to the Verizon Wireless Arena on Dec. 21 against Norfolk State for its final home game of the 2011 calendar year. Tipoff is set for 12 p.m. The Rams then head to Coral Gables, Fla., to participate in the annual University of Miami Holiday Classic Dec. 28-29.