WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Junior forward Courtney Hurt led all scorers with a 18 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, and paced three Rams in double-figure scoring as Virginia Commonwealth University defeated William & Mary, 73-61, in its Colonial Athletic Association opener Sunday afternoon at Kaplan Arena.
VCU was victorious for the third time in its last four outings and improves to 6-5 overall with a 1-0 mark in conference action. William & Mary, meanwhile, dropped its fourth straight and falls to 1-10, 0-1 in league play.
Junior Andrea Barbour added 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists and a game-high five steals for VCU, while senior Jessica Taylor (pictured, left) chipped in 13 points, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range, with four rebounds and three steals. Hurt now has posted a double-double in all 11 games this season.
William & Mary hit five of its first seven from the field and jumped out to a 12-6 lead with 15:13 showing in the opening period but Hurt scored four of the next six points for VCU and knotted the score on a jumper less than two minutes later.
The Tribe would answer with six straight and went back ahead 18-12 on a 3-pointer by Katherine DeHenzel with 12:15 to go in the half. But a jumper by Barbour halted the streak and sparked a 16-2 VCU run spanning nearly eight minutes and junior Chelsea Snyder put the Rams on top 28-20 on a free throw with 4:30 showing.
Taysha Pye and the Tribe weren't done, however, as the junior took control and reeled off six of the next eight to pull William & Mary within 30-29 with 1:50 remaining, but the Rams scored seven straight (with the final five by Johnson) to close the half and took a 37-29 advantage into the locker room.
Barbour (pictured, right) gave VCU a 51-41 lead on a 3-pointer with 11:26 left but the Tribe scored nine of the next 10 points and pulled within 52-50 on a layup by DeHenzel with 8:48 to go. The Rams regained their double-digit advantage following a layup by Johnson with 6:28 remaining.
Taylor Hilton pulled William & Mary within 64-58 with less than three minutes to go but it was as close as the Tribe would get the rest of the way.
Hilton and Pye each finished with 13 points to pace four William & Mary players in double figures. Kaitlyn Mathieu added 12 and DeHenzel chipped in 10. Emily Correal, who was ejected with 7:24 left in the first half after being charged with a flagrant foul, was the Tribe's leading scorer with six points at the time.
VCU shot a season-high 49.1 percent (26 of 53) from the field despite hitting a season-low 43.6 percent (17 of 39) from the free throw line.
The Rams return to the Verizon Wireless Arena for back-to-back CAA contests. VCU faces UNC Wilmington on Jan. 6 at 7 p.m., before hosting George Mason on Jan. 9 at 2 p.m.