2011-12 NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE (pdf)
RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University Head Women's Basketball Coach Beth Cunningham has announced the team's 2011-12 non-conference schedule, which has the potential to include five opponents that qualified for postseason play a year ago.
VCU is guaranteed to face 2010 postseason foes Liberty (WNIT), Charlotte (WNIT semifinals) and Richmond (WNIT), and could gain two more – Morgan State (WNIT) and Miami (NCAA second round) – with its participation in Hurricanes' holiday tournament Dec. 28-29 in Coral Gables, Fla.
For the second year in a row, VCU will open the season against High Point on Nov. 11 at the Verizon Wireless Arena before hitting the road for back-to-back games at Liberty (Nov. 15) and Missouri-Kansas City (Nov. 19). The Black & Gold's trip to UMKC will mark a homecoming of sorts for senior Jennifer Lane (Wichita, Kansas) and junior Robyn Hobson (Leawood, Kansas) as the duo will get the chance to play close to their home state for the first time since joining the Rams.
After its early road swing, VCU plays four of its next six games at home beginning with Charlotte on Nov. 22 and cross-town rival Richmond on Dec. 1. The 49ers posted a school record 27 wins last year including a run to the semifinals of the Postseason WNIT with wins over Liberty, South Carolina, Florida and Virginia. The Rams also travel to Winthrop (Nov. 27) and East Carolina (Dec. 7) before closing out their home non-conference slate with games against Coppin State (Dec. 18) and Norfolk State (Dec. 21).
VCU concludes the 2011 calendar year with a pair of games at the Miami Tournament. The Rams and Hurricanes will face either Holy Cross or Morgan State on Dec. 28 with the winners/losers of each contest set to meet Dec. 29. Miami is coming off a 28-5 campaign, which included a second round appearance in the NCAA Tournament, its first since 1993. Miami finished the season ranked 16th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, while also sporting the NCAA's 15th-best RPI.
The Rams, who will look for their seventh straight season opening victory when they take the court against High Point, are 7-1 all-time in season openers with Cunningham at the helm. The Black & Gold welcome back four starters, including a pair of All-Colonial Athletic Association performers in seniors Courtney Hurt (first team) and Andrea Barbour (second team). Last year, Hurt turned in perhaps the most dominating season in school history, leading the nation in rebounding (12.4 rpg) and double-doubles (25) while ranking second in the NCAA in scoring (23.2 ppg). She also set VCU's single-season marks in points (720), scoring average, rebounding (385), rebounding average, field goals (253), free throws (193) and double-doubles, while garnering Associated Press All-America distinction. Barbour, meanwhile, finished the 2010-11 campaign strong, averaging 19.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.7 steals per game in the Rams' final 14 outings, including seven 20-point performances.
Click here for the full 2011-12 non-conference schedule.
VCU'S 2011-12 NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS AT A GLANCE
HIGH POINT (Nov. 11 at Verizon Wireless Arena)
2010-11 RECORD: 16-15, 9-7 Big South
NOTES: High Point fell to top-seeded Liberty in last year's Big South Conference tournament semifinal… The Panthers named Jennifer Hoover head coach in April after Hoover spent the previous three seasons as the top assistant at Cal. She helped the Bears to their first-ever NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 2009 before capturing the 2010 Postseason WNIT Championship. Hoover was also part of a staff that recently signed the nation's top recruiting class at Cal.
LAST MEETING: VCU 65, High Point 64 (Nov. 12, 2010 at High Point, N.C.)
Courtney Hurt converted a layup with 1.4 seconds remaining and VCU picked up its sixth-straight season-opening victory last year. Jennifer Lane added a career-high 14 points with six assists and helped on Hurt's game-winner.
LIBERTY (Nov. 15 at Lynchburg, Va.)
2010-11 RECORD: 22-11, 14-2 Big South (WNIT First Round)
NOTES: No. 1 seed Liberty lost for the first time in 14 trips to the Big South Championship title game last March, falling to Gardner-Web, 67-66. The Flames, who made their first-ever WNIT appearance in 2010-11 after qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in 10 of the last 12 seasons, fell to Charlotte in the opening round.
LAST MEETING: Liberty 59, VCU 57 (Dec. 21, 2010 at Verizon Wireless Arena)
VCU shot 26.7 percent from the field in the first half and fell behind by 13 at the break. The Rams then used a 21-5 second half run to pull ahead but Liberty made a late push to seal the win. Courtney Hurt had 26 points and 15 rebounds.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY (Nov. 19 at Kansas City, Mo.)
2010-11 RECORD: 14-16, 9-9 Summit League
NOTES: VCU senior Jennifer Lane (Wichita, Kansas) and junior Robyn Hobson (Leawood, Kansas) will play close to their home state for the first time in their collegiate careers… The Kangaroos earned the No. 7 seed in last year's Summit League Tournament, falling to IPFW 68-53… During the 2009-10 campaign, UMKC collected a program record 12 conference victories and made the school's first-ever postseason appearance with a berth in the inaugural Women's Basketball Invitational.
LAST MEETING: VCU has never faced UMKC.
CHARLOTTE (Nov. 22 at Verizon Wireless Arena)
2010-11 RECORD: 27-10, 9-5 Atlantic 10 (WNIT Semifinals)
NOTES: Charlotte is coming off one of its most successful seasons in program history, appearing in the semifinals of the 2011 Postseason WNIT. The 49ers, who won a school record 27 games, defeated Liberty, South Carolina, Florida and Virginia before falling to Toledo in the semis… After leading the 49ers to four straight postseason appearances, Karen Aston resigned her post as head coach following the season. The school announced former Marquette assistant Cara Consuegra as her successor on April 26, 2011.
LAST MEETING: Charlotte 68, VCU 65 (Dec. 11, 2010 at Charlotte, N.C.)
Charlotte used an 18-6 spurt to pull ahead 58-46 with 4:59 remaining, but a jumper by Jessica Taylor sparked a 14-4 VCU run and Jennifer Lane pulled the Rams within 62-60 on a free throw with 1:21 left. However, Charlotte quickly responded and reeled off six straight points to put the game away. Courtney Hurt posted her seventh straight double-double with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
WINTHROP (Nov. 27 at Rock Hill, S.C.)
2010-11 RECORD: 13-18, 5-11 Big South
NOTES: After starting the season a respectable 7-6, Winthrop lost 12 of its final 18 games, including six of its last seven. However, the Eagles defeated Radford in the opening round of the Big South Tournament before falling to eventual champ Gardner-Webb in the semifinals… Marlene Stollings, former associate head coach at Ole Miss, was named Winthrop's new head coach on April 12, 2011.
LAST MEETING: VCU 59, Winthrop 49 (Nov. 17, 2010 at Verizon Wireless Arena)
Winthrop held a narrow 8-6 advantage less than five minutes into the game, but it was the last time the Eagles would lead. The Rams caught fire and closed the first half on a 17-2 run, setting the tone for the rest of the night. Courtney Hurt led VCU with 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Jennifer Lane chipped in eight points and a game-high four assists.
RICHMOND (Dec. 1 at Verizon Wireless Arena)
2010-11 RECORD: 18-12, 9-6 Atlantic 10 (WNIT First Round)
NOTES: The Spiders fell to fifth-seeded Charlotte, 68-63, in the quarterfinals of last year's Atlantic 10 Tournament… Richmond went on to make its third straight WNIT appearance but suffered a first round setback at home against UNC Wilmington… The cross-town rivalry continues this season for the 43rd year in a row. The Spiders have won three straight and 10 of the previous 12 meetings in the series. However, the Rams still hold a 33-32 all-time series advantage.
LAST MEETING: Richmond 68, VCU 53 (Dec. 5, 2010 at Robins Center)
Up by three at the break, Richmond hit 10 of its first 16 from the field in the second half and extended its lead to 37-27 with 15:31 to go. Courtney Hurt, who registered 24 points and a then career-high 15 rebounds, pulled VCU within six on a jumper less than a minute later, but it was as close as the Rams would get the rest of the way. Richmond shot 44.4 percent from the field.
EAST CAROLINA (Dec. 7 at Greenville, N.C.)
2010-11 RECORD: 16-15, 9-7 Conference USA
NOTES: East Carolina advanced to the quarterfinals of the Conference USA Tournament under first-year head coach Heather Macy. The Pirates defeated Tulsa in the opening round before suffering an 83-72 setback against Tulane… ECU finished the season strong winning nine of its last 13 games but did not qualify for postseason play after appearing in the second round of the WNIT in 2010.
LAST MEETING: East Carolina 77, VCU 72 (Dec. 2, 2010 at Verizon Wireless Arena)
Neither team led by more than five points during the first 20 minutes as the opening stanza featured seven ties and seven lead changes. VCU eventually pulled ahead 61-57 on a jumper by Courtney Hurt with 7:49 remaining but East Carolina stormed back with a 16-3 spurt spanning five minutes to go up 73-64. Hurt registered a then- career-high 34 points (one shy of VCU's single-game record, which she later tied against UNCW on Jan. 6) to go along with 10 rebounds.
COPPIN STATE (Dec. 18 at Verizon Wireless Arena)
2010-11 RECORD: 13-17, 9-7 MEAC
NOTES: Coppin State lost to conference champ Hampton in the quarterfinals of the MEAC Tournament… The Eagles showed improvement on the court last year after winning just 10 games overall including five league contests in 2009-10.
LAST MEETING: VCU 71, Coppin State 62 (Dec. 8, 2010 at Baltimore, Md.)
Down 11 at the break, VCU shot 55.6 percent from the field and outscored CSU by 20 points in the second half. Courtney Hurt scored 20 points with a then- career-high 17 rebounds for her sixth-straight double-double.
NORFOLK STATE (Dec. 21 at Verizon Wireless Arena)
2010-11 RECORD: 9-19, 2-14 MEAC
NOTES: Norfolk State established itself as a MEAC program on the rise last season. Its nine victories were the most since 2004-05 campaign when the Spartans finished with 12. NSU jumped out to a 4-1 start, its best since 2001-02 when capturing the MEAC tournament title.
LAST MEETING: VCU 71, Norfolk State 49 (Nov. 29, 2006 at Norfolk, Va.)
VCU scored the first 15 points of the contest and improved its school record start to a perfect 6-0. VCU led by as many as 21 points, at 30-9 with 3:42 left, and took a 33-19 lead into the locker room. The Rams forced 21 Norfolk State turnovers and limited the Spartans to 29-percent (19-of-65) shooting in the game.
MORGAN STATE (Dec. 28/29 at Coral Gables, Fla. – Miami Tournament)*
2010-11 RECORD: 17-14, 10-6 MEAC (WNIT First Round)
NOTES: Morgan State made its first-ever postseason appearance with a trip to the WNIT last season, falling to Virginia 69-56. The Bears earned the No. 2 seed in the MEAC Tournament but were upset by sixth-seed Howard in the semifinals.
LAST MEETING: VCU 75, Morgan State 68 (2OT – Nov. 21, 2009 at South Orange, N.J.)
D'Andra Moss scored a career-high 33 points to lead VCU to a double-overtime victory against Morgan State in the championship game of the Anaconda Sports "The Rock" Seton Hall Classic. Moss scored eight points in the second overtime period alone. In addition, she hit a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left in the first overtime period to force the second OT. Moss also had 10 rebounds and hit 3-of-6 treys.
HOLY CROSS (Dec. 28/29 at Coral Gables, Fla. – Miami Tournament)*
2010-11 RECORD: 10-20, 6-8 Patriot League
NOTES: Holy Cross relied heavily on its five-member freshman class, which accounted for more than 40 percent of the team's offense in 2010-11. The rookies made an immediate impact, leading the team in scoring 12 times, while finishing as the leading rebounder in nine games. The Crusaders led the Patriot League with 451 assists, averaging 15.6 per game during the regular season.
LAST MEETING: VCU has never faced Holy Cross.
MIAMI (Dec. 29 at Coral Gables, Fla. – Miami Tournament)*
2010-11 RECORD: 28-5, 12-2 ACC (NCAA Tournament Second Round)
NOTES: Miami enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2010-11, making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003-04. After an opening round victory against Gardner-Webb, the third-seeded Hurricanes advanced to the second round for the first time in 18 years but suffered an 88-83 setback against sixth-seed Oklahoma. Miami, which was a perfect 20-0 at home, finished the season ranked 16th in ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and 11th in the AP Top 25. The Hurricanes also sported the NCAA's 15th-best RPI.
LAST MEETING: VCU has never faced Miami.
* - denotes possible opponents in the Miami Tournament