November 9, 2013

“Fury” on Display as Rams Cruise to 85-66 Win at Youngstown State

FINAL: VCU 85, Youngstown State 66 (Youngstown, Ohio)

RECORDS: VCU (1-0), Youngstown State (0-1)

VCU STARTERS: #23 Pellechio, #24 Parks, #34 Robinson, #44 Calhoun, #45 Thorpe

YOUNGSTOWN STATE STARTERS: #14 Flagg, #15 Schlegel, #21 Hornberger, #23 Thompson, #34 Walker

THE BASICS:

  • Freshman Monnazjea Finney-Smith came off the bench and paced four Rams in double-figure scoring with a team-high 18 points in her collegiate debut, and VCU put "Fury" on display in an 85-66 rout of Youngstown State Sunday afternoon.
  • The Rams erased an early eight-point deficit at the 13:22 mark, outscoring Youngstown State 42-17 the remainder of the first half.
  • VCU scored 33 points off 27 Youngstown State turnovers.  The Rams, who ranked 23rd nationally with 11.3 steals per game last year, recorded 23 thefts, three shy of the school record.
  • Sophomore Adaeze Alaeze added 15 points off the bench, while senior Robyn Parks chipped in 14 and sophomore Jessica Pellechio contributed 10.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • Both squads got off to a slow start, shooting a combined 4-of-21 from the field during the first 4:30.
  • Youngstown State eventually took a 12-4 lead on a layup by Latisha Walker at the 13:22 mark before VCU began to settle in.
  • Trailing by seven with 12:39 showing, VCU erupted, scoring 11 of the next 13 points and took its first lead of the game on a 3-pointer by freshman Keira Robinson three minutes later.
  • The Penguins answered with back-to-back buckets and regained the lead, 20-18, with 8:25 left but momentum continued in VCU's favor as the Rams used a 14-0 outburst, including points from six different players, over the next four minutes to pull ahead 34-22 with 4:12 to go.
  • Youngstown State cut its deficit to 10 twice the remainder of the half but VCU scored seven of the final 10 points of the opening stanza to take a 46-29 advantage into the locker room.
  • The Rams' lead ballooned to 19 on a jumper by freshman Isis Thorpe less than two minutes into the second half.
  • Youngstown State then used a quick 7-0 spurt to cut its deficit to 51-38 with 16:01 to go but it was as close as the Penguins would get the rest of the way as VCU scored 12 of the next 14 and built its largest lead of the game on a triple by Thorpe with 12:08 left.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:

  • Nine different Rams scored, including all five starters.
  • Freshman Camille Calhoun finished with five points and a game-high tying 10 rebounds in her collegiate debut.
  • Parks grabbed eight boards and added a game-high five steals, while Alaeze collected seven rebounds.
  • Nearly half of VCU's points came off the bench with Finney-Smith (18) and Alaeze (15) leading the way.
  • Freshman Ashlee Mitchell added six points, a game-high seven assists and two steals off the bench in her first career game.
  • Fifteen of VCU's 23 steals came from its starting five.

WHAT'S AHEAD: VCU opens the 2013-14 season with back-to-back games in Ohio as the Rams return to face Ohio State on Nov. 14.  The Black and Gold then returns to the Verizon Wireless Arena for its home opener against Elon on Nov. 17.

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