December 4, 2011

VCU OPENS CAA PLAY WITH 67-60 VICTORY AGAINST NORTHEASTERN

RICHMOND, Va. – Senior guard Andrea Barbour scored a game-high 23 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists, while classmate Courtney Hurt (pictured) registered her third straight double-double with 19 points and 11 boards, and VCU defeated Northeastern 67-60 Sunday afternoon in its Colonial Athletic Association opener at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

VCU (4-3, 1-0) begins CAA play with a victory for the third consecutive season, while three of its last four wins to kick off the conference slate have come against Northeastern.  It was the Rams 10th straight victory over the Huskies.

"We're really pleased to get this win at home today," said VCU Head Coach Beth Cunningham.  "It's really good to start the conference [season] off 1-0 and to also get a win at home.  I thought we responded well after a tough loss against Richmond on Thursday."

Freshman Christina Carter, who made her second start of the season, finished with six points, three rebounds and a game-high six assists.  Sophomore Robyn Parks added eight points, three boards and a pair of steals for the Rams.

Northeastern kept the game close in the opening stanza as the first 12 minutes of action featured nine lead changes.  VCU led by no more than eight points the entire period and took its largest lead of the half on a layup from Barbour with 2:26 to go.

The Huskies, who committed 13 first-half turnovers, cut it to four with 47 seconds left but a pair of Parks free throws and a layup from Hurt as time expired gave VCU a 36-29 advantage at the break.

The Rams missed three straight from the field and Northeastern forced a pair of turnovers during the first three minutes of the second half to climb back.  Geneviev Gaboriault nailed one of her four treys to pull the Huskies within two, before a layup by Jewel Tunstill, who finished with a team-high 21 points, knotted the score at 36-36 with 16:56 remaining.

A pair of Parks free throws put the Rams back in front on the ensuing possession, and three-straight points from freshman Aprill McRae extended VCU's lead to five two minutes later.  However, Gaboriault would hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cap off a 13-5 second half spurt that put Northeastern back in front, 42-41, for the final time at the 12:51 mark.

Barbour then scored seven points during a 14-2 VCU run and she extended the Rams' lead to 55-44 at the line with 6:20 showing. 

VCU would go up by as many as 12 over the next three minutes but Northeastern wouldn't go away quietly as the Huskies chipped away and pulled within six with 31 seconds to go.

The Rams finished with 12 steals and forced a season-high 25 turnovers. 

VCU travels to East Carolina on Dec. 7 for a 7 p.m. matchup against the Pirates, before returning to the Verizon Wireless Arena for back-to-back games against Coppin State (Dec. 18) and Norfolk State (Dec. 21).

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