FINAL: Youngstown State 58, VCU 45 (Richmond, Va.)
VCU STARTERS: #3 Green, #11 Hobson, #22 Williams, #24 Parks, #30 Henry, S.
YSU STARTERS: #4 Davis, #14 Flagg, #21 Hornberger, #23 Thompson, #42 Brown
THE BASICS: Junior Robyn Parks finished with a team-high 15 points and seven rebounds, while freshman Kaneisha Atwater scored in double figures for the fourth straight game, but Youngstown State, off to its best start in 15 years, handed VCU a 58-45 setback Friday night in its non-conference finale.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- After Youngstown State raced out to a 13-0 advantage less than four minutes in, VCU held strong and responded with an 11-2 run and made it a four-point game on an Atwater layup with 10:14 showing.
- Trailing 21-17 with 6:44 to go in the half, senior Carleeda Green knocked down a triple from the right corner to pull the Rams within one on their next possession.
- Freshman Adaeze Alaeze knotted the game at 23-23 two minutes later and VCU eventually took its first lead on a jumper from Parks with 21 seconds to go in the half. However, YSU's Karen Flagg answered with a bucket as time expired to give the Penguins a 28-27 lead at the break.
- Youngstown State scored six quick points to start the second half before Atwater pulled VCU within 36-33 with a pair of free throws at the 13:43 mark.
- The Penguins then erupted scoring 14 of the next 16 points and took a 50-35 advantage, their largest of the game, with 7:22 to go.
- Parks cut the deficit to 11 with 3:38 remaining but it was as close as VCU would get.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- Youngstown State, which averages nearly nine treys per game, is the fourth-best 3-point shooting team in the nation. However, VCU held the Penguins below their season average with a 7-of-22 outing.
- Atwater has scored in double figures in four straight and six of her last nine games. The Fort Pierce, Fla. native, who has come off the bench in all but two of those outings, is averaging 11.5 ppg and 3.3 apg since Dec. 21.
- Alaeze contributed a career-high tying eight points off the bench to go along with two rebounds, two assists, a career-best three blocks and a steal.
- Rookie Janniina Koivunen grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds.
- Green dished out four assists for the 10th time this season.
- The Rams recorded five blocks for the second straight game, three of which came from Alaeze.
WHAT'S AHEAD: VCU enjoys a seven-day break before competing in its first-ever Atlantic 10 contest Jan. 12 at Saint Louis. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. EST. The Rams then travel to Temple on Jan. 16 before returning home to face George Washington on Jan. 20. Check VCUAthletics.com for complete game coverage.