THRILLER OF A LEAGUE OPENER: Women's Basketball Edges VCU, 69-68
By ODU Athletics
Jan. 5, 2009
NORFOLK, Va. -- It was a thriller Monday night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center as the Old Dominion women's basketball team edged out VCU, 69-68, in their Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opener. The Lady Monarchs, who were down by eight with 4:09 remaining in the game, outscored the Rams 13-4 down the stretch including a huge three-pointer by sophomore Jasmine Parker (Norfolk, Va.) and free throws by senior Jazzmin Walters (Norfolk, Va.).
The victory snapped a three-game skid for the Lady Monarchs (6-5, 1-0 CAA), who improved to 18-0 in CAA openers and 17-1 in CAA home openers. The win for ODU also snapped VCU's six-game win streak. The Rams, who entered the game with the best record among fellow CAA schools, fell to 10-3 on the year.
"I don't think anyone stopped believing," said ODU head coach Wendy Larry. "We really fought back."
Old Dominion trailed by eight, 64-56, with 4:09 left in the game, but managed to make it a two-point ball game by scoring six unanswered points over the next two minutes. Senior Tiffany Green (Chesapeake, Va.), who spent much of the night in foul trouble, made one of two free throws, Parker connected on a three, and freshman Mairi Buchan (Sterlingshire, Scotland) hit a jumper from the middle of the circle to cut their disadvantage to 64-62.
VCU stopped the Lady Monarch run with a pair of free throws by the Rams' Quanitra Hollingsworth, but Hollingsworth would later foul Parker sending the sophomore Lady Monarch to the line. Parker hit both her attempts from the charity stripe making it a two-point ball game again with VCU up 66-64 with 1:10 to go.
A Kita Waller lay-up gave the Rams a 68-64 lead with 55 seconds left on the clock, but on the next play Parker, who entered the game shooting 39.2 percent from beyond the arc as the CAA's second leading three-point shooter, sank the ball in from the top right of the key to pull Old Dominion to within one. Rorie La'tavia missed a lay-up on the other end as sophomore Sierra Little (Greensboro, N.C.) came up with the rebound and was quickly fouled.
Little missed the front end of a one-and-one, but the smallest player on the court, Walters, snuck in for the rebound and ended at the foul line herself. Walters sank both her shots to return to the lead to ODU for the first time since the 10 minute mark of the second half.
Waller missed the rim on the Rams' next play giving the ball back to Old Dominion. VCU was then forced to foul Walters. Walters missed both her attempts giving the Rams one last shot to snap the Lady Monarch's 34-game CAA home court win streak with 0.7 seconds. The inbounds pass found its way to Waller who launched a desperation three. The heave bounced on the rim, but did not go through the net giving ODU the win.
Green finished the night leading ODU with 15 points as one of three Lady Monarchs in double figures. Walters and Parker ended the game with 11 points apiece.
VCU was led by Hollingsworth with 18 points. She was held to just two points on a pair of free throws in the first half, but exploded for 16 points and ended the night with a double-double by hauling in 10 boards. D'Andra Moss added in 15 from off the bench with Waller contributing 12 points and Jennifer Lane adding 10.
The Lady Monarchs, who were without the services of forward Jessica Canady (Williamsburg, Va.) for the second straight game, led by as much as 10 in the first half. However, VCU closed out the first stanza 11-2 run as the teams entered halftime tied at 33-33.
Old Dominion led by no more than four points in the early parts of the second half before VCU reclaimed the lead for the first time since the game's opening minutes with 10:03 left.
The Old Dominion women's basketball team hits the road for its next two games. The Lady Monarchs travel to UNC-Wilmington on Thursday, January 8th and Northeastern on Sunday, January 11th. Tip-off against the Seahawks is at 7:00 p.m.