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VCU Stuns Lady Monarchs

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: February 06, 2003
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Feb. 6, 2003

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Richmond, VA -- The Virginia Commonwealth women's basketball team halted Old Dominion?s Colonial Athletic Association win streak of 35 straight CAA wins with a 67-56 victory at the ALLTEL Pavilion at the Siegel Center Thursday evening. The Rams improved to 9-10 overall (6-4 CAA), while the Lady Monarchs, who suffered just their eighth CAA loss in 12 years, fell to 11-8 overall (8-1 CAA).

The last time the Rams defeated the Lady Monarchs was on Dec. 8, 1992 in Richmond when VCU was a member of the Metro Conference and ODU was in the CAA. Old Dominion entered the game winners of 148 of its last 149 games. The Lady Monarchs last league loss was to James Madison on February 18, 2001, 48-49, in Harrisonburg, VA.

Princess Anne High School teammates, guards senior Okeisha Howard and Shareese Grant, were the only two Lady Monarchs in double figures. Howard had a team-high 15 points, while Grant added 11. Junior Monique Coker (Bronx, NY) hauled in eight rebounds off the bench.

Three players scored in double figures for VCU with junior guard Cyndy Wilks leading the way with a season-high 22 points and two steals. Sophomore Maria Giovannetti netted a career-high 20 points, dished out a team-high three assists and amassed a team second-best seven rebounds. Senior forward Kristine Austgulen collected her 11th double-double of the season with 16 points and a game-high 10 boards.

ODU came out and scored the first two points of the opening half, which would be the only Lady Monarchs lead the entire game. VCU then went on an 11-3 scoring run, which was capped off by a 3-point basket by Wilks at the 15:35 mark. Wilks made another basket from beyond the arc with three minutes left in the half to put the Rams up by 14, which matched its largest lead of the contest. VCU went into the break up 34-24 over the Lady Monarchs. It was the fourth time this season Old Dominion was trailing at the half in a CAA contest and the largest halftime deficit in conference play this year.

The Rams maintained their strong presence as Wilks made a lay-up to put VCU up by 12 in the opening minute of the second half. ODU went on to collect seven points and pull within five with 13:32 remaining following a field goal by sophomore Paula Muxiri (Luanda, Angola). Howeverthe Rams answered with a 6-0 scoring run to put VCU ahead 46-34 in the 12th minute. The Lady Monarchs pulled within six points at the 4:21 mark on a junior Max Nhassengo (Maputo, Mozambique) free throw, but the Rams held the Lady Monarchs to just two field goals in final span. The Rams solidified its win after making nine straight free throws in the closing minutes of the game.

VCU shot 21-of-49 (42.9 percent) on the night, while ODU shot 42.6 percent (20-of-47). The Rams turned the ball over 17 times to the Lady Monarch's 22. The game also marked the first time an ODU opponent has outrebounded them as VCU grabbed 34 rebounds, while ODU amassed 29, including just nine on the offensive boards.

The Lady Monarchs will look to rebound as it heads into its second game of a four-game road trip when they travel to Harrisonburg, VA to face James Madison on Sunday, February 9th. Tip-off is slated for 2:00 p.m.

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