Lady Monarchs Victorious Over VCU 73-56

January 24, 2003
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Jan. 24, 2003

NORFOLK, VA - Junior guard Max Nhassengo (Maputo, Mozambique) scored a career-high 23 points as the Old Dominion women's basketball team outscored Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) foe Virginia Commonwealth 34-19 in the second half en route to a 73-56 victory Friday night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

With the win the Lady Monarchs remain perfect in conference play, improving to 6-0, 9-6 overall. VCU sees their three-game winning streak snapped and falls to 3-3 in the CAA and 6-9 overall. ODU is now 42-7 against their in-state rival, last losing 72-67 on Dec. 8, 1992 in Richmond, VA.

With her 23-point performance, Nhassengo becomes the fifth Lady Monarch to score twenty or more points in a game this season. Senior guard Okeisha Howard (Va. Beach, VA), who has performed that feat twice, scored 13 to go along seven assists, tying her season-high. Junior forward Monique Coker (Bronx, NY) added 16 points and eight boards, tying Nhassengo for the team-high in rebounds.

Senior forward Kristine Austgulen, two-time CAA Player of the Week, led the visitors with 19 points and added seven rebounds. Nineteen points is her lowest point total since scoring 17 in a 74-63 loss to Marquette on December 18, 2002. Sophomore forward Maria Giovannetti was the only other Ram to score in double figures, dropping in 14 points, including 6-6 from the line.

ODU held only a two-point advantage heading into halftime, 39-37. The Lady Monarchs were up by as many as eight in the first period after a 10-0 run gave them a 24-16 lead with 10:30 left. Austgulen would bring VCU to within two, 24-22, with a jumper at 8:21, capping off a 6-0 run. But Howard, who had 10 first half points, would convert a traditional three-point play to put the home-team up 31-24 with just over four and a half minutes left. That was the largest advantage ODU would have the rest of the half as the Ram's shot a perfect 100% (10-10) from the free-throw line to only allow Old Dominion the two-point cushion at the break.

Old Dominion used a 14-6 run to open the second half to build a 53-43 lead with 12:22 left on the clock. Nhassengo scored 12 of her team's 14 points as the Lady Monarchs increased their lead to a game-high 24 points with just over four minutes remaining. VCU shot only 26 % (6-23) from the floor over the last 20 minutes, including 0-3 from beyond the arc and 7-11 from the charity stripe.

The Lady Monarchs will be home again on Sunday to host Hofsta at 2:00 p.m.