March 8, 2013

Women's Basketball Gameday Central: VCU vs. Duquesne (Atlantic 10 Championship Opening Round)

Who: No. 12 VCU Rams (11-18) vs. No. 5 Duquesne Dukes (22-6)
When: Friday, March 8, 2013 - 2:30 p.m.
Where: Philadelphia, Pa. | Directions | Tickets
Arena: Michael J. Hagan Arena (4,200)
Radio: Ram Radio - VCUAthletics.com (Play-by-Play: Robby Robinson)
TV: None
Live Video: Atlantic 10 TV
Live Stats: Gametracker
Game Notes: VCU | Duquesne 
Social Media: VCU Athletics Twitter | VCU Athletics Scores Twitter | VCU Athletics Facebook

TALKING POINTS

  • VCU qualified for the Atlantic 10 Tournament in its first year as a league member.  The Rams secured the No. 12 seed on the final day of the regular season courtesy of a head-to-head tiebreaker with La Salle.
  • The Rams are coming off a 55-46 victory against Rhode Island in their season finale on Sunday.  Junior Robyn Parks and freshman Jessica Pellechio combined to score 41 points, while VCU also turned in one of its best defensive performances of the year, forcing 23 turnovers to go along with 20 steals and a season-best seven blocks.
  • Parks, who won the A-10 regular season scoring crown (18.5 ppg), registered a game-high 22 points Sunday against Rhody.  She scored 20-plus points for the fourth straight game and fifth time in her last six outings.  Parks is averaging 21.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.3 steals since Feb. 10. 
  • Parks has nine double-doubles to go along with 12 20-point games so far this year.  She also ranks eighth in the A-10 in rebounding (7.9 rpg) and third in steals (2.7 spg).  Parks, who has scored in double figures in 28 straight games, is VCU's top returner from 2011-12 at just 6.6 ppg.
  • Pellechio, who leads the A-10 and ranks 17th in the NCAA with 2.9 treys per game, was named A-10 Rookie of the Week on Monday after averaging 18.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game last week.  The Annadale, N.J. native also went 9-of-15 from 3-point range and a perfect 6-of-6 at the free throw line.  Pellechio, who ranks third on VCU's single-season 3-pointer list with 73 despite missing four straight games in January (illness), is averaging 14.6 points and 2.9 steals in her last seven games.  She has scored in double figures 17 times this season.
  • Four of VCU's top six scorers are freshmen.  At least one rookie has scored in double figures in all but three games this year.  The Rams are also 6-3 when two or more freshmen score 10+ points in a game.  Meanwhile, VCU's freshman class has accounted for nearly 75 percent of the team's 3-pointers and more than 40 percent of the total offense.
  • Eleven Rams are averaging double-digit minutes, including all four freshmen, three of which play more than 19 per game.  However, rookie Adaeze Alaeze, who sees 15.9 mpg, is averaging 23.3 minutes in her last 17 outings, including 14 straight starts.  Alaeze is the only VCU player to start all 14 A-10 games this year.
  • VCU, which ranks second in the A-10 and 28th nationally in steals (11.4 spg), is averaging nearly 13 thefts in its last 14 outings.  Parks ranks 3rd in the A-10 in steals (2.7 spg), while Pellechio is 6th at 2.2 spg.  The Rams have also forced 20 or more turnovers 11 different times, including their last three outings (20 vs. Xavier; 24 at Charlotte; 23 vs. Rhode Island).
  • The last time a No. 12 seed won an opening round game in the A-10 Tournament was in 2009 when Rhode Island defeated George Washington.  Rhody is the only No. 12 seed to knock off a No. 5 seed since the league moved away from its divisional format in 2006.
  • VCU ranks 34th nationally in personal fouls per game.  The Rams set an A-10 single-game record when they committed just four at Fordham on Feb. 2.  VCU has been whistled for 10 or fewer fouls seven different times this year.
  • With 122 assists, senior point guard Carleeda Green ranks 10th on VCU's single-season list.  She dished out a career-high tying eighth assists Sunday against Rhode Island.  Green is averaging better than five assists since Feb. 17.
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