March 9, 2012

VCU’S RALLY COMES UP SHORT IN 65-61 QUARTERFINAL LOSS AGAINST DREXEL

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – Senior forward Courtney Hurt became the first VCU men's or women's basketball player to score 2,000 career points Friday night, finishing with 18 to go along with 12 rebounds, but the Rams' furious second half rally came up just short as VCU couldn't erase a 22-point deficit and fell to third-seeded Drexel, 65-61, in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Colonial Athletic Association Women's Basketball Championship at The Show Place Arena.

After falling behind 34-12 with 18:28 to go, VCU mounted a spirited comeback, outscoring Drexel 49-31 the rest of the way, including a stretch of just two Dragons field goals during the final 11 minutes.  However, the deficit proved to be too much as the Rams couldn't complete the rally.

Not only did Hurt became the first men's or women's player in school history, and just the sixth player in league history, to score 2,000 career points, but she also tied VCU's all-time double-doubles mark with her 55th.  Hurt, who has logged a double-double in 45 of her last 62 games, joined the 2,000-point club with a jumper at the 15:45 mark in the first half.

Senior Andrea Barbour scored all 19 of her points in the final 20 minutes, while junior Robyn Hobson collected 14 points and five rebounds, and sophomore Robyn Parks added 10 points, including 6 of 6 shooting at the line, with five boards off the bench for the Black & Gold.

VCU couldn't get much going offensively in the early going as Drexel, which leads the league in scoring defense, limited the Rams to just 4 of 21 shooting in the opening stanza.  The Dragons also held the Rams scoreless during a nearly eight-minute stretch, while using a 15-0 run to grab a comfortable lead. 

Parks ended the drought with a pair of free throws and followed with a jumper on VCU's next possession but the Rams couldn't keep pace.  After Hurt pulled the Black & Gold within 10-8 at the 13:08 mark, Drexel outscored VCU 20-4 the remainder of the half and took a 30-12 lead into the locker room.  The Dragons shot 59.1 percent from the field, and hit a pair of 3-pointers.

Drexel pushed its lead to 34-12, the largest of the game, on a jumper from Taylor Wootton less than two minutes into the second half before VCU began to mount a furious rally.  The Rams scored 13 of the next 15 points and pulled within 36-25 on a free throw from sophomore Zakia Williams with 12:34 to go.  It was as close as the Black & Gold had been since the 9:15 mark in the opening stanza.

The Dragons, however, settled down and went back up by as many as 17 with 7:56 showing before back-to-back 3-pointers from Barbour and Hobson a minute later ignited a 31-18 run and VCU held Drexel to just one field goal the rest of the game.

Down by nine with two minutes left, the Rams continued to push and eventually got within three on a pair of Hurt free throws with 13 seconds to go.  A triple from Barbour made it a two-point game with one second left.

Senior Kamile Nacickaite led Drexel with a game-high 25 points.  Hollie Mershon added 13, Tyler Hale chipped in 12 and Wootton finished with 10.

VCU and Drexel met for the second time in three games as the two teams also squared off in the regular season finale on Feb. 29.  Friday's matchup was the Rams' first-ever against the Dragons in the CAA Tournament.  VCU has appeared in at least the quarterfinals 16 times since joining the league in 1995-96.

 

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