UNCW EDGES VCU 57-56, HANDS RAMS JUST THIRD LOSS IN LAST 11 GAMES
WILMINGTON, N.C. – Senior forward Courtney Hurt posted her 11th double-double of the year with game-highs of 20 points and 12 rebounds but UNC Wilmington overcame a seven-point deficit with less than three minutes to go and stunned VCU with a 57-56 setback Thursday evening at Trask Coliseum.
Trailing by three with 33 seconds left, UNCW's Chelsea McGowen converted a layup and was fouled. She missed the free throw, which would have tied the game, but Alisha Andrews grabbed the rebound to give the Seahawks another chance. Down one, Andrews drove to the basket on the following possession and hit a layup to put UNCW back on top 57-56 with 18 seconds to go.
VCU (11-6, 4-2 CAA) couldn't get a shot off on its next possession and UNCW earned a loose ball out of bounds. The Rams then fouled Tawanna Lee with 4.5 seconds left and she missed both attempts from the free throw line. However, VCU had to travel the length of the floor with no timeouts and couldn't get a shot off before time expired.
The loss was just VCU's third in its last 11 games. It was also the Rams' second one-point setback of the season. VCU and UNCW (10-7, 3-3) have now split a season series nine times, all as members of the Colonial Athletic Association.
Senior Andrea Barbour finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists for VCU, while classmate Chelsea Snyder chipped in seven points and eight boards. Hurt, who is 22 points away from breaking the school's all-time scoring record, grabbed her 1,000th career rebound, becoming the second player in school history to have 1,000 points and 1,000 boards.
VCU used an early 8-0 run, in which Hurt scored six points, to grab an 8-3 advantage less than six minutes into the game. After UNCW's Jessica Freeman hit a pair from the line to knot the score with 13:38 showing, the Rams used a 16-7 spurt spanning nearly 10 minutes to grab their largest lead of the half. Carter came up with a steal and found Barbour for a fast break layup, which handed VCU a nine-point advantage with 3:26 to go.
UNCW stormed back, scoring nine of the final 11 points of the half to cut its deficit to 26-25. Following a jumper by Hurt with 19 second left, Lee nailed a triple from the right wing as time expired to make it a one-point game at the break. After hitting just 5 of 21 from the field during the first 17:01, the Seahawks hit their final four shots of the opening stanza to close the gap.
UNCW kept the score close through the first two minutes of the second half before VCU reeled off eight straight points to take its largest lead of the game at 38-28 with 12:10 remaining.
Trailing by 10 two minutes later, UNCW used a critical 11-0 run, forcing turnovers on a stretch of three straight VCU possessions, and took its first lead of the game on a pair of Lee free throws with 7:01 to go.
The lead changed hands three more times before the Rams scored eight in a row to pull ahead 53-46 with 3:26 left.
Trailing by seven with 2:44 to go, UNCW scored nine of the final 10 points to edge VCU for the second year in a row at home.
VCU concludes its three-game road swing at George Mason on Jan. 22. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. The Rams return to the Verizon Wireless Arena for two in a row, beginning with Drexel on Jan. 26.