Marlene Stollings calls it "Fury", but VCU Women's Basketball's up-tempo, aggressive style of play has been more than a way for the Rams to overwhelm the opposition. It's also the method through which the Rams are assaulting the VCU record books.
With a year under her belt to implement her system and scour the recruiting trails, the program is taking off. Behind Stollings' Fury, VCU has piled up victories. VCU has already improved by 10 wins over last season, the fifth largest turnaround in the country. In addition, the Rams (21-8) have won 20 games for the sixth time in program history. The Rams also won a school-record 13 straight games this season, and their 14-1 opening is the best 15-game mark in the history of the program.
WOW!! Tonight's WIN at Duquesne marks the best start in the 40 year history of VCU women's basketball. #FuryStrong#ProudCoach— Marlene (@Stollings) January 5, 2014
The way the Rams have won all those games has been both impressive and exhilarating. Led by A-10 Player of the Year candidate and conference leading scorer Robyn Parks, as well as a highly touted, class of award-winning freshmen, VCU is churning out eye-popping statistics.
This year's Rams are currently the highest scoring team in VCU history. The Rams average nearly 77 points per game, a figure which ranks in the top 40 nationally. VCU has topped 90 points five times this season and smashed the school record of 101 by lighting up the scoreboard for a staggering 112 points…twice.
POINTS PER GAME, VCU HISTORY
Season PPG Games Points
2013-14 76.8 29 2,228
1988-89 75.5 29 2,189
1986-87 73.0 29 2,117
All those points are a product of Stollings' full-throttle offense and the Rams' disruptive 2-3 zone defense. On offense, the Rams attack the basket off steals and find shooters on the wings. This season, VCU has shattered the school mark for 3-pointers with 210, an average of 7.4 per game, second most in the A-10.
On defense, the Rams are creating chaos. VCU ranks fifth nationally in steals per game (11.7) and the Rams are seventh in the country in turnover margin (+6.76). VCU's 340 steals this season are the fourth-most in school history.
PARKS AND WRECK
At the center of VCU's success on the floor has been All-America candidate Parks, who continues to ascend the Rams' career lists.
The 6-foot senior forward is averaging 21.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, both A-10 bests. She ranks 17th nationally in scoring and is attempting to become just the eighth woman to lead the A-10 in scoring in consecutive seasons. Parks has scored in double figures in 57 consecutive games. She also ranks second in program history in 30-point games (4) and sixth in double-doubles (21).
She has been named A-10 Player of the Week four times in 2013-14.
Stollings' initial seven-player VCU recruiting class was turning heads even before the season. Not only was the class ranked tops in the A-10, but recruiting services ranked it one of the 40 best in the entire country.
As good as the class was on paper, it's been even better in practice.
VCU's freshman class has accounted for 970 points, the sixth-highest total in the country. In all, 43.5 percent of VCU points this year have been produced by its seven true freshmen.
|NCAA 2013-14 FRESHMAN CLASS SCORING|
|School||Points||% of Scoring|
Point guard Keira Robinson, a four-time A-10 Rookie of the Week selection, eclipsed VCU's record for assists by a freshman weeks ago. Her 183 helpers are the third-most in a single-season in VCU history, and her 6.4 assists per game rank 16th nationally and second among freshmen.
THE FURY ZONE
People are rallying around the Fury movement. VCU packed more than 1,600 fans into the Siegel Center for its annual "Pink Out" game against Richmond, the program's most since the 2009-10 season.
VCU recorded its highest average attendance per game in 15 years. Attendance grew by more than 30 percent since last season alone. This season, VCU eclipsed the 1,000-fan plateau on four occasions, the most in school history.
Even when fans couldn't make it down to the Siegel Center, they could catch the increasingly visible Rams on TV. VCU appeared on TV five times during the regular season, including a pair of national TV appearances on the CBS Sports Network, in addition to the school's radio and online video streaming packages.