RICHMOND – The Virginia women’s basketball team (17-15, 6-10 ACC) squeaked out a 52-50 victory over VCU (23-10, 11-6 Atlantic 10) in Richmond on Thursday to advance to the second round of the Women’s National Invitation tournament.
Faith Randolph led the Cavaliers with 21 points, including the game-tying basket and the game-winning free throws. Down 48-39 with 6:15 remaining, Virginia went on a 9-0 run capped off by a J’Kyra Brown three pointer to tie the game at 48 with 1:42 left in the game. VCU recaptured the lead, only to see Faith Randolph hit a jumper with 39 seconds remaining, steal the ball on from the Rams on the next possession, then draw a foul driving to the bucket with 1.8 seconds remaining.
The senior guard’s free throws were good, and the Cavaliers will live to see another day in their postseason tournament.
“We knew that we needed to get stops down the stretch,” said Randolph. “Lauren Moses kept telling us throughout the game ‘don’t give up. Don’t give up.’ That’s what we did. We went out, got stops and were able to convert on the other end.”
The game was close throughout, but VCU held control most of the way. They jumped out to a 15-10 lead early, fought off Virginia for the rest of the first half, then asserted themselves in the third quarter with a 9-point lead.
But Randolph’s great shooting (7-15 overall and 3-6 from three) combined with contributions from Brown and sophomore Aliyah Huland El, who each had 8 points, was enough to Take Down the Rams.
“VCU is a great team who is a very tough opponent,” said head coach Joanne Boyle. “I am very proud and thankful to come away with a win.”
Galaisha Goodhope and Jessica Ogunnorin led the Rams with 12 and 11 points respectively. Ogunnorin also added 11 rebounds for VCU who as a team outrebounded Virginia 40-28.
Virginia will take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the second round of the WNIT on Sunday, March 20, at 2 p.m.