VCU Mounts Furious Second Half Rally But Comes Up Short at Second Place Charlotte, 63-54
FINAL: Charlotte 63, VCU 54 (Charlotte, N.C. – Halton Arena)
VCU STARTERS: #3 Green, #14 Adebayo, #20 Alaeze, #23 Pellechio, #24 Parks
CHARLOTTE STARTERS: #4 Dowe, #10 Hammonds, #22 Sigmon, #23 Forney, #30 Hailey
- Junior forward Robyn Parks logged her third straight 20-point performance and fourth in her last five outings with a game-high 25 points, but VCU's furious second half rally came up short in a 63-54 loss at second-place Charlotte Thursday night.
- Freshman Jessica Pellechio added 18 points on 4-of-6 shooting from long range, including a critical eight in the final four minutes for VCU.
- Charlotte, which trails nationally-ranked and first place Dayton by a game in the Atlantic 10 standings, won its 12th straight game and 15th in its last 16 outings.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Charlotte jumped out to a 15-8 advantage on a 3-pointer from Ny Hammonds 12 minutes into the game.
- Back-to-back jumpers from freshman Kaneisha Atwater and Parks pulled VCU within 15-12 with 6:46 showing. The Rams continued to play well defensively, holding the 49ers without a field goal for nearly seven minutes.
- Hammonds halted the drought with a layup at the five-minute mark, which ignited a 20-5 Charlotte run.
- VCU cut its deficit to four twice over the next two minutes, including 20-16 on a Parks jumper with 3:22 showing. However, the 49ers responded by scoring 15 of the final 16 points of the half, including a heave from Jai Forney from just inside half court at the buzzer.
- Pellechio drilled a triple on VCU's first possession of the second stanza, and Parks followed with a jumper to cut the Rams' deficit to 35-22 less than 40 seconds after intermission.
- Six straight points allowed the 49ers to push their lead to 19 twice over the next three minutes before VCU used a quick 11-0 spurt to make it 43-35 at the 13:28 mark. However, Charlotte answered once again and went back ahead by as much as 53-35 with 9:21 to go.
- Trailing by 18 points midway through the second half, VCU began to chip away and eventually made it 54-46 on a 3-pointer from senior Carleeda Green with 5:32 remaining.
- Down by 10 with 4:22 showing, Pellechio buried back-to-back triples to keep VCU within seven. Charlotte pulled ahead 61-52 on a Jennifer Hailey layup with 1:27 to play before Pellechio again answered with a jumper to make it a seven-point game with just over a minute remaining.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- Parks, who posted her third straight 20-point game and fourth in her last five outings, led all scorers with a game-high 25 points, including 11-of-13 from the free throw line.
- Parks is averaging 21.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.6 steals in her last five games. She has scored in double figures in 27 straight outings.
- Pellechio, who is contributing 13.8 points per game since Feb. 6, finished with 18 against the 49ers. The rookie went 6-of-10 from the field, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, while adding four rebounds and four assists.
- Green registered game-highs with five assists and five steals.
- VCU shot a perfect 12-of-12 at the free throw line in the second half and finished 13-of-15 on the game.
- The Rams forced 24 Charlotte turnovers. It was the 10th time this season an opponent has committed 20 or more miscues.
- VCU and Charlotte met Thursday night for the third straight season and first as members of the Atlantic 10.
WHAT'S AHEAD: VCU returns to the Verizon Wireless Arena to close out the regular season on March 3 against Rhode Island. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network. Check VCUAthletics.com for complete game coverage.