February 23, 2012

HURT, VCU USE STRONG SECOND HALF IN 73-61 WIN AT GEORGIA STATE

ATLANTA, Ga. – Senior forward Courtney Hurt scored 22 of her game-high 31 points in the second half and freshman Aprill McRae added 12 points and five rebounds off the bench to spark VCU to a 73-61 road victory against Georgia State Thursday night at the GSU Sports Arena.

VCU, which shot 57 percent in the second half, hit 15 of its first 19 from the field to start the second stanza and erased a 12-point deficit with a 28-6 run, holding Georgia State to just four field goals during the final 16:39 of the game.

The Rams extend their winning streak to 14 games against Georgia State, which marks the longest current streak against a Colonial Athletic Association opponent.  All 14 victories have come since the Panthers joined the league in 2005-06.

Hurt recorded her fourth 30-point game of the season to go along with six rebounds, a pair of assists and three steals.  McRae was efficient once again for the Rams, converting all six of her field goal attempts.  Eight different VCU players scored on the night with senior Andrea Barbour adding eight points and a game-high six assists, and freshman Christina Carter chipping in seven and four assists.

Georgia State, which hit seven of its first 13 from the field, jumped out to a 15-9 advantage on a layup by Sade Means at the 13:17 mark.

Back-to-back looks underneath from McRae and a jumper by Barbour pulled VCU within 17-15 less than four minutes later.  However, the Panthers answered with four straight points and traded baskets with the Rams during a nearly four-minute stretch, and VCU could get no closer than four the rest of the half.

Georgia State, which held a 26-16 advantage on the glass during the first 20 minutes, eventually took its largest lead of the period at 31-23 on a pair of free throws from Jerlisa Taylor with 1:34 showing.  A layup by Cody Paulk with 30.6 seconds left again gave the Panthers an eight-point lead, which they would take into the locker room.

Taylor scored seven of the first 12 points for Georgia State to start the second half and pushed the Panthers' lead to 45-33 on a jumper with 16:40 remaining.

Junior Robyn Hobson nailed a triple on VCU's next possession, which sparked a 13-0 run, and the Rams took their first lead of the game, 46-45, on a layup by Hurt with 13:51 left.

The lead would change hands four times over the next three minutes before VCU scored 14 of the next 17 points and built its largest lead at the time, 65-54, on a pair of Hurt free throws with 6:09 to go.

The Panthers could only trim the deficit to seven points the remainder of the game.

Paulk paced four Georgia State players in double-figure scoring with 23 points.  Taylor added 11 and Means and Kendra Long chipped in 10 apiece.

VCU returns home for Senior Day on Feb. 26 against George Mason.  Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.  The Rams then hit the road for their final regular season game at Drexel on Feb 29 at 7 p.m.

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