VCU EARNS HARD-FOUGHT 85-76 WIN AGAINST HOFSTRA

RICHMOND, Va. – Junior forward Courtney Hurt, who led all scorers with 26 points and 15 rebounds, set VCU's single-season record with her NCAA-leading 19th double-double, while sophomore Sonia Johnson (pictured, left) added 19 points and 10 rebounds in the Rams' 85-76 victory against Hofstra Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.

VCU, which has won six of its last seven at home, improves to 14-9 overall with a 9-4 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association.  Hofstra has dropped two of its last three and slips to 14-10, 6-7.

"This game was huge for us today," said VCU Head Coach Beth Cunningham.  "Every game in this conference is big but coming off the loss against James Madison, it was great to see our team respond this way.  Our kids refused to lose.  They battled and found a way to win and I'm really proud of our effort today."

The game was a back-and-forth battle that featured 11 ties and 10 lead changes.

Junior guard Andrea Barbour finished with 15 points and nine rebounds for VCU, while classmate Chelsea Snyder chipped in a career-high 10 points to go along with six boards.  Hurt, who has scored in double figures in a school record 32 straight games, surpassed Quanitra Hollingsworth and Nimah Darcy for the VCU's single-season double-doubles mark.

Johnson put VCU on top 17-11 following a 3-pointer less than six minutes into the contest.  However, Hofstra's Shante Evans would take control inside with three straight layups to knot the score at 17-17 with 12:04 to go in the opening period.  The Pride regained the lead on a triple by freshman Kate Loper with 11:27 showing and Evans would eventually cap off a 14-3 run that put Hofstra ahead 25-20 a minute later.

Freshman Robyn Parks pulled VCU within 25-24 at the line with 7:59 to go but the Pride scored eight of the next 10 and went ahead by seven on a pair of Candace Bond free throws.

The Rams continued to chip away and Snyder (pictured, right) scored four-straight including a stick-back that put VCU on top 36-35 at the 3:13 mark.  Barbour then gave the Black & Gold a five-point advantage with less than two minutes to go in the half but Hofstra scored the final five points and knotted the game at 40-40 at the break.

A jumper by Hurt less than four minutes into the second stanza gave VCU a 48-46 lead but Hofstra would again use an 11-2 run and built a seven-point advantage on a layup by Nicole Capurso with 13:01 left.

Hofstra would never trail over the next seven minutes until a traditional three-point play by Hurt gave VCU the lead for good with 6:06 remaining.  Evans pulled the Pride within 72-71 two minutes later but it was as close as Hofstra would get the rest of the way.  VCU scored 13 of the final 18 points, including 5 of 5 from the free throw line, to seal the victory.  

VCU, which leads the CAA in rebounding margin, had another strong performance on the glass collecting a season-high 54 boards, while outrebounding Hofstra by 21.

"Rebounding was a really big focus coming into today's game," said Cunningham.  "We knew their style of play was going to be very up and down.  I was disappointed with the way we were rebounding early but I thought we did a great job in the second half.  On both ends of the floor, that ended up being the difference in the game."

Evans posted her 12th double-double of the season with a team-best 25 points and 10 rebounds for Hofstra.  Loper added 16 points and Bond chipped in 12.

VCU concludes its three-game home stand against Old Dominion on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.  The Rams will don pink uniforms in an effort to promote breast cancer awareness with the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's Pink Zone initiative.

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