FINAL: Cleveland State 68, VCU 57 (Cleveland, Ohio – Wolstein Center)
VCU STARTERS: #1 Atwater, #22 Williams, #23 Pellechio, #24 Parks, #30 Henry, S.
CLEVELAND STATE STARTERS: #1 Gordon, #15 Coleman, #20 Winton, #21 Green, #30 King
THE BASICS: Junior Shekina Henry led all scorers with a career-high 18 points, while classmate Robyn Parks added 17 and freshman Jessica Pellechio chipped in 14, but VCU couldn't overcome a strong second half by Cleveland State and fell 68-57 Wednesday night.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Henry scored six straight points for VCU (2-4) early in the first half to give the Rams an 8-2 advantage less than seven minutes in. However, Cleveland State (2-4) used a 13-2 spurt to take a five-point lead, its largest of the half, with 6:10 left.
- The Rams responded scoring 14 of the next 18 points, fueled by 12 straight from Henry, and went back up 24-19 on a Parks free throw with 24 seconds to go.
- Shalonda Winton, the nation's fifth-leading scorer, cut Cleveland State's deficit to four at the charity stripe with :05 left before the break.
- Six quick points pushed VCU's lead to 30-20 with 18:23 to go but the Vikings kept the pressure on, again answering with a 20-6 run and took a four-point lead on a pair of Winton free throws with 11:58 left.
- Pellechio responded with back-to-back 3-pointers to halt the Cleveland State run and Parks converted a traditional 3-point play to give VCU a 45-42 lead with 10:22 remaining.
- It was the last time the Rams led, however, as the Vikings, who hit three critical 3-pointers down the stretch, outscored VCU 26-15 the rest of the way. Trailing by 12 with just over three minutes to go, a layup by Henry and a triple from Pellechio pulled the Rams within 62-55 with 2:20 to go but it was as close as they would get.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- Henry scored 12 of VCU's first 14 points, including 12 straight after junior Zakia Williams gave the Rams a 2-0 lead at the 18:34 mark. She finished with a career-high 18 points to go along with a team-best eight rebounds.
- The Rams held Winton, who ranks fifth in the NCAA scoring 24.8 ppg, to just four first-half points. She finished with a team-best 17 for Cleveland State.
- Pellechio hit all four of VCU's 3-pointers and continued her pace of 3.8 triples per game, which leads the Atlantic 10 and ranks third in the nation.
- Parks finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and a game-high four steals for VCU.
- Senior Carleeda Green added a game-high tying five assists off the bench. She has at least five assists in all but one game this season.
WHAT'S AHEAD: VCU plays its sixth road game in seven outings with a trip to Florida A&M on Dec. 1. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. The Rams return to the Verizon Wireless Arena on Dec. 5 to face UMBC. Check VCUAthletics.com for complete game coverage.