RICHMOND, Virginia - VCU closed the game on a 16-4 run to break a 49-all tie and defeat UNCW, 65-53, in Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball action Sunday at the Siegel Center.
The Rams halted a two-game losing skid with the victory as they improved to 9-5 overall and 2-1 in CAA play. The Seahawks dropped to 8-6 and 1-2 with the setback as their three-game winning streak came to an end.
"I was disappointed with how we played over the final six minutes," said UNCW Head Coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke. "After tying the game at 49-all, VCU responded to the challenge and we failed to play with the same passion and purpose we had played with prior to that point. This is an experience we are going to need to learn and grow from if we are going to be successful in the CAA this season."
Senior Andrea Barbour scored eight of her game-high 23 points during the decisive stretch that saw the Rams knock down seven of its final 11 field goal attempts and force the Seahawks into six turnovers over the final 6:42 of the contest.
Senior Courtney Hurt, ranked among the top 10 in the nation in both scoring and rebounding, joined Barbour in double figures with 21 points and a game-best 15 rebounds to post her eighth double-double of the season.
After a conventional three-point play by Garrett at the 7:59 mark knotted the score at 49-all, Barbour and Hurt combined for back-to-back baskets on Seahawk turnovers to give the Rams a 53-49 edge.
A free-throw by Andrews and a turnaround jumper by junior Ayoola Weaver countered a basket by VCU freshman Aprill McRae to pull the Seahawks within three, 55-52, with just over four minutes to play.
Barbour and Hurt would keep the Seahawks from drawing any closer, however, scoring VCU's final 10 points over a span of 2:41 to give the Rams their largest lead of the game, 65-52, with 1:07 remaining. A free-throw by Garrett with 40 second remaining determined the final margin.
The two teams exchanged runs to open the game as the Rams started the contest on a 9-2 spurt, only to see the Seahawks counter with seven answered points to level the score at 9-all.
The two sides traded baskets over the next eight minutes until Barbour rattled off eight straight points on a pair of baskets and four free throws to spark the Rams to a 20-6 stretch and a 37-26 cushion with 18:01 remaining.
A jumper by Garrett ended the Rams run and started a 10-2 stretch for the Seahawks that trimmed the VCU advantage to three, 39-36. The Rams would maintain a two-possession advantage over the next five minutes before UNCW used a 6-2 stretch, capped by Garrett's three-point play, to tie the game and set up the Rams final run.
UNCW returns to action Thursday when they travel to No. 21 Delaware for a 7 p.m. contest at the Bob Carpenter Center. VCU is back on the floor Wednesday when it hosts Old Dominion in a 7 p.m. tip.
UNCW dropped to 16-23 all-time against VCU as the Rams won for the fifth time in the last six meetings between the two programs. VCU also posted its fourth straight home victory against the Seahawks.
The Seahawks were out-rebounded for the second straight contest and the 10th time this season as VCU held a 46-30 edge on the glass.
Barbour and Hurt became the second tandem to record 20 points apiece against the Seahawks this season. Middle Tennessee's Kortni Jones (25) and Ebony Rowe (22) did so in their 79-60 victory over the Seahawks in the season opener at Penn State on Nov. 11.
VCU held a 32-26 edge in points in the paint and 18-9 advantage in second-chance points.
The two teams combined for 42 points off turnovers as each side finished the contest with 21 points off of opponent miscues.
Both teams finished the game shooting below 40 percent from the field as VCU was 24-of-61 (.393) while UNCW was 21-of-54 (.389).
The Seahawks shot below 40 percent from the field for the seventh time this season and moved to 2-5 when doing so. UNCW also dropped to 8-11 under Cooper-Dyke when failing to shoot 40 percent or better from the field in a contest.
UNCW held a 12-4 edge in points off turnovers with a 6-2 advantage in both halves.
The Seahawks recorded double figure assists for the 14th time this season and the 16th straight contest dating back to the end of last season.
UNCW posted double figure steals for the 2nd straight contest and the 11th time this season as it finished with 13 thefts.
VCU became the first UNCW this season and the first Seahawk foe since Towson last February to finish a game without a made three-pointer.
The Seahawks moved to 3-6 this season and 6-12 under Cooper-Dyke when trailing by 10 or more points in a contest.