VCU FENDS OFF LATE WILLIAM & MARY RALLY IN 83-80 ROAD WIN

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Senior forward Courtney Hurt posted her sixth straight double-double with a game-high 28 points and 15 rebounds, pacing four VCU players in double figure scoring, but VCU fended off a furious rally late in the second half and held on to defeat William & Mary 83-80 Sunday afternoon at Kaplan Arena.

William & Mary (8-8, 1-4 CAA) battled back from a 12-point deficit with 6:49 to go, and made it 74-71 at the 1:46 mark before eventually pulling within 81-80 with 6.4 seconds remaining.  The Tribe, which trailed by as many as 16 early in the second half, nailed five 3-pointers, four from Janine Aldridge, in the final 2:30 but VCU went 7 of 9 from the line down the stretch and never relinquished the lead.

The Rams, who have started 4-1 or better in CAA play for the fourth year in a row, pick up their third straight victory and eighth in their last 10 games.  It was also VCU's 10th straight win against William & Mary, marking its second-longest active winning streak against a CAA opponent.

Hurt (pictured), who grabbed at least 15 rebounds for the sixth straight game,  shot 12 of 17 from the field and added five assists.  Senior Andrea Barbour finished with 18 points and a team-high six assists, while freshman Christina Carter added 12 points and sophomore Robyn Parks chipped in 10 for the Rams.

VCU (11-5, 4-1 CAA), which dished out a season-high 21 assists, hit eight of its first 13 from the field and raced out to a 20-9 advantage at the 13:29 mark.  Five different players scored during that stretch, including seven points from Barbour.

Trailing by 11 with 12:51 to go, William & Mary used a 9-0 run, capped off by a 3-pointer from Taylor Hilton and the Tribe pulled within 22-20 with 9:50 showing.  It was as close as William & Mary would get the remainder of the half, however, as Hurt scored 11 of the next 13 points for VCU and the Rams used a 13-5 surge to take a 35-25 advantage with 4:03 left.

The Tribe cut the deficit to six with less than three minutes to play, but VCU scored 10 of the final 14 points and took a 45-33 lead into the locker room.  The Rams' 45 first-half points was the second most in a half this season.

Hurt contributed 19 points, eight boards and three assists in the opening stanza, 17 of which came during a six-minute stretch late in the period.

VCU pushed its lead to 50-34 less than two minutes into the second half before William & Mary began to rally.  The Tribe responded with a 12-2 run spanning 4:41 and pulled within 52-46 on a wide open layup by Taysha Pye with 13:37 remaining.

Carter scored five of the next eight points for VCU and the Rams quickly extended their lead back to 14 on a jumper by Hurt with 10:39 left, before William & Mary mounted its rally.

VCU, which has won the rebounding battle in 11 of its last 12 games, held a 45-34 advantage on the glass against the Tribe.

Aldridge led William & Mary with 25 points, while Pye and Emily Correal added 16 apiece.

The Rams continue their three-game road swing at UNCW on Jan. 19, meeting the Seahawks for the second time in four games, before traveling to George Mason on Jan. 22.  VCU returns to the Verizon Wireless Arena against Drexel on Jan. 26.

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