RICHMOND, Va. – Senior Andrea Barbour recorded a game-high 24 points and 11 rebounds, while classmate Courtney Hurt added 22 points and 16 boards, and VCU used a strong second half on its way to a hard fought, 76-72 overtime victory against league rival Old Dominion Wednesday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
VCU (10-5, 3-1 CAA) used an early 12-0 second half run to erase an 11-point deficit, and made key stops on defense down the stretch to pick up its fifth straight home win.
Junior Chelsea Snyder (pictured, left), who finished with five points and 10 rebounds, converted a layup to tie the game at 70-70 with 1:30 left in regulation. The Lady Monarchs would have the ball with the final shot but Snyder stood strong underneath and denied Old Dominion's leading scorer Tia Lewis a solid look to force overtime.
Hurt scored five straight to start the extra period and VCU kept Old Dominion off the board through the first 4:05 until a layup from Myeisha Hall with 55 seconds left cut the deficit to 75-72. The Lady Monarchs again had a chance to get a shot off at the end of overtime but Hall traveled with two seconds left and junior Robyn Hobson hit a free throw on the ensuing possession to secure the win.
"I was really proud of how our kids came out after halftime," said VCU Head Coach Beth Cunningham. "The key [to the game] was how we got off to a good start in the second half. Then at the end of the game, I thought we had some really great defensive possessions. We came up with several stops, including the one to put it into overtime, and then not allowing them to get a shot off [at the end of overtime]."
After losing 46 of 48 games against Old Dominion from 1975-2009, including a stretch of 17-straight CAA titles, VCU has won three in a row and five of the last six against the Lady Monarchs. Five of the last seven games in the series have been decided by an average of 3.5 points.
Old Dominion (5-11, 2-2 CAA) raced out to a 24-17 advantage on a pair of free throws from Mairi Buchan at the 9:32 mark before VCU scored seven straight to knot the score for the third time less than two minutes later. It was as close as the Rams would get the remainder of the half as a jumper from Lewis put the Lady Monarchs back in front on their next possession.
Buchan then capped off a 10-2 run spanning three minutes to give Old Dominion a 34-26 advantage at the 4:41 mark. The Lady Monarchs eventually pushed their lead to 11 with 1:50 showing before back-to-back triples from Hurt and Carter quickly pulled VCU within 41-36 with a minute to go.
A layup from Buchan extended the lead to seven with 23 seconds left and Ashley Betz-White converted a fast break layup as time expired to give Old Dominion a 45-36 edge at the break.
"Old Dominon is a good shooting team, especially if you allow them to get open looks," Cunningham said of ODU's offense that shot 55 percent in the first half. "They were doing a great job on the offensive glass [in the first half], and the key to our success will always be defending and rebounding."
The Lady Monarchs pushed their lead back to 11 less than a minute into the second stanza before the Rams, who held Old Dominion to just one field goal during a six-minute stretch, erupted for a 12-0 run, including seven points from Hurt, and Barbour (pictured, right) knotted the score at 47-47 on a fast break layup with 15:43 remaining.
VCU would continue to battle and tied the score three more times over the next 5:41 before taking its first lead of the game on a look underneath from freshman Aprill McRae with 10:02 to go.
Old Dominion went back up by as many as three over the next four minutes before a jumper by Hobson and a pair of free throws from Barbour gave VCU its final lead of regulation, 63-62, with 5:42 left. The Rams tied the score three more times over the next four-plus minutes, including a key layup from Snyder that made it 70-70 with 1:30 showing.
"When we defend and rebound like we're capable of doing, it changes the way we play on the offensive end of the floor," said Cunningham. "We have to play with that kind of mentality all the time."
For the 10th time in its last 11 games, VCU won the battle on the boards, holding a 50-42 advantage against Old Dominion. Hurt has grabbed at least 15 rebounds in five straight games.
VCU begins a three-game road trip at William & Mary on Jan. 15. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. The Rams then face UNCW for the third time in four games on Jan. 19 before closing their road swing at George Mason on Jan. 22.