East Carolina Holds Off Late VCU Rally, Hands Rams 67-56 Setback
FINAL: East Carolina 67, VCU 56 (Richmond, Va.)
VCU STARTERS: #3 Green, #22 Williams, #23 Pellechio, #24 Parks, #30 Henry, S.
EAST CAROLINA STARTERS: #2 White, #14 Steward, #20 Chappel, #21 Edwards, W., #42 Edwards, B.
THE BASICS: East Carolina, sporting the nation's ninth-best scoring defense, overcame an early deficit and held off a late VCU rally in a 67-56 win over the Rams Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Wireless Arena. The Pirates snapped VCU's three-game win streak, while picking up their sixth win in their last seven games. Junior Robyn Parks registered her fourth double-double of the year with 14 points and 10 rebounds to pace VCU offensively, while freshmen Jessica Pellechio and Janniina Koivunen added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- VCU (5-5) hit its first three shots from the field, including a triple from Pellechio and a traditional 3-point play from junior Zakia Williams, and raced out to an 8-0 advantage at the 18:01 mark.
- East Carolina (8-2) stormed back, scoring eight straight of its own and knotted the game on a basket from Kyani White less than three minutes later.
- A pair of free throws from Williams pushed VCU's lead to 14-9 with 11:54 showing before the Pirates used a 12-2 spurt spanning nearly three minutes to take their largest lead at the time, 21-16, with 8:46 left. Neither team led by more than five points the remainder of the half as East Carolina eventually claimed a 33-29 advantage at the break.
- The Pirates went 6-of-8 from the floor and increased their lead to 45-34 less than five minutes into the second stanza.
- East Carolina continued its surge, scoring 22 of the first 31 points out of the locker room and built its largest lead of the game at 55-38 with 8:15 to go.
- Trailing 57-40 with seven minutes left, VCU erupted hitting six straight shots, including four 3-pointers (two each from Pellechio and Koivunen), as part of a 16-5 run. Parks then trimmed the Rams' deficit to 62-56 on a layup with 2:48 remaining.
- It was as close as VCU would get, however, as East Carolina held the Rams scoreless the rest of the way and went 5-of-8 from the charity stripe to seal the win.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- Despite the loss, VCU has still won five of its last seven games.
- Koivunen pulled down a career-high nine rebounds and was one board away from her first career double-double.
- Pellechio, the nation's second-leading 3-point shooter, knocked down a game-high four from long range.
- Williams added nine points and five rebounds, and went a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line.
- Both teams shot nearly 41 percent from the field but East Carolina took 24 more shots than VCU.
- The Rams held a 40-32 advantage on the glass.
WHAT'S AHEAD: VCU continues its season-long three-game home stand against Liberty on Dec. 20 and NJIT on Dec. 21. Both games are set to tip at 2 p.m. The Rams then travel to nationally-ranked Ohio State on Dec. 27. Check VCUAthletics.com for complete game coverage.