UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – VCU had a season-best five players in double-figure scoring, led by senior forward Courtney Hurt's game-high 25 points and 18 rebounds, and the sixth-seeded Rams defeated #11 William & Mary, 78-69, Thursday night in the opening round of the 2012 CAA Women's Basketball Championship at The Show Place Arena.
Trailing by 10 with 6:34 to go, William & Mary used a quick 8-1 run and pulled within 68-65 on a basket by Emily Correal with 4:22 left. The Tribe remained within four at the 2:27 mark before a jumper by Hurt and a critical 3-pointer from junior Robyn Hobson put VCU ahead by nine with just over a minute to play.
The Rams had to battle through foul trouble midway through the second half as Hurt picked up her third and fourth fouls during an 11-second span and was forced to sit for six straight minutes. She remained on the bench until senior Chelsea Snyder picked up her fifth foul at the five-minute mark.
"Tonight's game really was a total team effort," said Head Coach Beth Cunningham. "A lot of different players stepped up for us, especially during that stretch when we got into a bit of foul trouble in the second half. I was really happy with our effort, intensity and focus and to come out with a win."
VCU, which has opened the CAA Tournament with a victory in six straight and nine of the last 10 years, advances to the quarterfinals March 9 against third-seeded Drexel at 7:30 p.m.
Senior Andrea Barbour finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists and five steals, while sophomore Robyn Parks chipped in 12 points, and Hobson and freshman Christina Carter added 10 apiece. Hurt (pictured), who posted her 19th double-double of the year, finished just one point shy of recording the 2,000th of her career. The Rams' five players in double-figure scoring were their most in nearly three years.
Thursday's game also marked the 77th meeting in the VCU-William & Mary series, which is the Rams' longest standing series in program history. VCU and William & Mary have met four times in the CAA Tournament with VCU winning three of those contests.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Hurt gave VCU a 19-8 advantage at the 12:46 mark before William & Mary rallied with a quick 9-2 spurt and pulled within 21-17 on a jumper by Taysha Pye less than four minutes later.
Taylor Hilton cut the deficit to three with a triple from the right wing with 7:33 showing but VCU scored seven straight and a stick-back by Snyder gave the Rams a 33-23 advantage just two minutes later. Hurt scored 11 of the Black & Gold's 16 points during a nearly seven-minute stretch midway through the period.
William & Mary then found its groove and closed the half on a 13-6 run. A driving layup from Pye with three seconds left pulled the Tribe within 39-36 at the break.
A pair of Correal free throws cut the deficit to 39-38 less than 15 seconds into the second half, but VCU regrouped scoring 11 of the next 15 points, and Hurt gave the Rams an eight-point cushion at the line with 16:22 left. A 3-pointer from Hobson and an and-one by Hurt pushed VCU's lead to 59-48 four minutes later.
The Tribe nearly erased a 10-point deficit, pulling within 68-65 with 4:22 to go, but it was as close as they would get.
VCU committed just nine turnovers, its fewest since having seven at #12/13 Delaware on Feb. 6.