NEWARK, Del. – Junior Andrea Barbour (pictured, left) scored a career-high 28 points and classmate Courtney Hurt tied the Colonial Athletic Association's single-season double-doubles record with her NCAA-leading 22nd but Virginia Commonwealth University couldn't overcome a 14-point second-half deficit and fell at Delaware, 75-67, Thursday night.
Down 13 with 8:58 to go, VCU used a quick 10-0 run to pull within 58-55 but it was as close as the Rams would get. The Black & Gold made it 70-67 with 1:44 remaining but Delaware scored the final five points to secure the win.
VCU, which entered the contest riding a four-game winning streak against the Blue Hens, slips to 16-10 overall with an 11-5 mark in CAA play. The Rams have lost seven of their last nine trips to the Bob Carpenter Center. Delaware improves to 16-11, 9-7.
The Rams need just one win or a Delaware loss in their final two games to clinch a top-four seed and first round bye in the CAA Tournament, which runs March 10-13 at The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. VCU has been at least a No. 3 seed in the last three conference tournaments.
Hurt added 16 points and 11 rebounds, while junior Jennifer Lane chipped in 10 points and a game-high five assists for VCU. Delaware's Elena Delle Donne scored a game-high 31 points to go along with seven rebounds.
Barbour went 5-of-6 from the field and scored 10 of VCU's first 14 points, and pulled the Rams within 15-14 with 11:55 showing in the opening period.
Junior Chelsea Snyder, who finished with four points and five boards, kept it a one-point game with a layup two minutes later but Delaware reeled off 11 straight, held VCU scoreless over a four-minute stretch and took a 28-16 lead on a layup by Danielle Parker with 6:23 remaining.
The Blue Hens would go up by as many as 14 until Hurt converted a traditional three-point play with 38 seconds to go in the half. However, Delle Donne, who led all scorers with 18 first-half points, answered with a three-point play of her own on the ensuing possession and Delaware went back ahead 37-23.
Freshman Jacqueline Brewer then nailed a triple from the left corner with four seconds left and VCU pulled back within 11 at the break.
The Rams got within seven three times during the first five minutes of the second half before Hurt (pictured, right) cut Delaware's lead to 46-40 after a pair from the line at the 13:39 mark. But as they did all night, the Blue Hens responded with an 8-0 run, including a pair of three-pointers, and went back in front 54-40 less than 1:30 later.
Trailing 58-45 with 8:58 to go, VCU scored 10 straight in less than two minutes and Lane pulled the Rams within 58-55, which was their closest margin since 8:59 in the first half, with a pair of free throws.
Both teams would trade baskets during seven straight possessions before Delaware pulled ahead 68-61 on a jumper by Vanessa Kabongo with 3:18 remaining. A three-point play by Barbour cut the Blue Hens' lead to 70-67 with 1:44 showing but it was as close as VCU would get as Delaware scored the final five points to seal the win.
VCU returns to the Verizon Wireless Arena for Senior Day on Sunday, Feb. 27 as the Rams host William & Mary at 2 p.m. The Black & Gold concludes the regular season on March 2 at Georgia State.