FINAL: Saint Louis 60, VCU 46 (St. Louis, Mo.)
VCU STARTERS: #1 Atwater, #3 Green, #20 Alaeze, #24 Parks, #30 Henry, S.
SAINT LOUIS STARTERS: #00 Castleman, #1 Bradley, #21 Webb, #23 Ball, #34 Womack
THE BASICS: Junior Robyn Parks scored 13 of her game-high 15 points in the second half and added 10 rebounds for her six double-double of the year, but VCU couldn't overcome early foul trouble and dropped its Atlantic 10 Conference opener at Saint Louis, 60-46.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Consecutive stick-backs from junior Shekinah Henry and a drive from freshman Janniina Koivunen gave VCU a 12-9 lead 10 minutes into the game.
- However, the Rams, who rank 15th in the country in fewest fouls committed, battled through foul trouble early as three starters were whistled for two fouls apiece by the 10-minute mark. Saint Louis, which trailed 12-9 when the trio exited the game, took advantage of the opportunity and limited VCU to just one field goal the rest of the half, while scoring 21 of the final 28 points on its way to a 30-20 halftime lead.
- Courtney Webb knocked down a 3-pointer from the right wing to extend Saint Louis' lead to 13 with 19:25 left. VCU responded with a quick 8-0 run, including six straight points from Parks and pulled within 33-28 at the 16:10 mark.
- A pair of free throws from Lorreal Jones halted the Rams' spurt and the Billikens answered with an 8-0 run of their own to make it a 14-point game less than two minutes later.
- Trailing 51-36 with 7:29 remaining, VCU chipped away and eventually trimmed its deficit to nine with 2:13 showing.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- Saturday marked VCU's first-ever conference game as a member of the Atlantic 10.
- Atwater finished with nine points and five rebounds for the Rams, while Koivunen chipped in six points and seven boards off the bench. Henry added six points to go along with five rebounds.
- Senior Carleeda Green, who dished out six assists Saturday for the sixth time this year, is averaging 6.0 apg in her last three outings.
- Freshman Adaeze Alaeze, who made her first career start, finished with four points, two rebounds and a pair of steals.
- The Rams, who rank second in the A-10 with nearly seven 3-pointers per game, were held without a triple for the first time this season.
- Jones led Saint Louis with 14 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.
WHAT'S AHEAD: VCU will play its second straight game on the road to open Atlantic 10 play with a trip to Temple on Jan. 16. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. The Rams then return home for back-to-back games against George Washington (Jan. 20) and Duquesne (Jan. 23). Check VCUAthletics.com for complete game coverage.