Thursday, March 15, 2012

Clean sweep for Virginia's WNIT teams

Sure, they'd all rather be in the NCAAs. But credit the state's four WNIT entrants for shaking off their disappointment, digging in and getting it done Thursday in the first round of that less-glamorous but still highly competitive other tournament.

WNIT bracket

Thursday's results

VCU 72, Bowling Green 71: Rams fans partying hard after the VCU men's basketball team's NCAA victory over Wichita State may not learn about this until Friday afternoon. They missed a classic, though, as Andrea Barbour went coast-to-coast for a layup at the buzzer to complete a spectacular Rams comeback. After taking a 2-0 lead, VCU fell behind, stayed there and were facing a 12-point deficit with 4:51 left. Five straight points by Carleeda Green kick-started the Rams rally, and Barbour (20 points, 11 rebounds) and Courtney Hurt (30 points, 17 rebounds) sent it into overdrive by scoring all 14 of the Rams' points over the final 2:42. A Hurt layup with six seconds left put the Rams ahead 71-70; two free throws from Bowling Green's Jessica Slagle gave the Falcons the edge. One mad dash by Barbour later, the Rams were winners. Seniors aren't always that stoked for WNIT action, but VCU's upperclassmen weren't going out like that and were at their dominant best when it mattered most. Anyone out there have a tape of this game? For while we enjoyed watching the Rams men take down Wichita State, we'd sure like to see this one, too.
Second round: Sunday, 2 p.m. at St. Joseph's

Virginia 59, Howard 56 (OT): The Cavaliers were anticipating an NCAA bid so we're not sure how keyed up they were for this. And they almost paid for it against an underrated Howard team that had gone 23-3 - including a win at Wake Forest - since early December. As it was, the Cavaliers had to sweat out three missed shots by the Lady Bison in the final seconds of regulation before taking command in overtime. Virginia hadn't played in 13 days, and again, they thought they deserved better than the WNIT. Enough with the excuses, though. The Cavaliers are good enough to win this tournament if they have their act together. But they're going to need better performances than they turned in Thursday night.
Second round: Monday, 7 p.m. vs. Richmond

Richmond 76, Miami (Ohio) 54: Vintage Spiders basketball, from the four players in double figures to the 22 assists on 28 field goals to the 14 steals. Genevieve Okoro led the way with 19 points and sophomore Kristina King tied her career high with 13 for the Spiders, who broke things open with a 17-0 run in the first half and cruised from there. Next up is a rematch with Virginia; the Spiders fell 69-56 to the Cavaliers in Richmond on Dec. 4.
Second round: Monday, 7 p.m. at Virginia

James Madison 64, Davidson 49: Lauren Whitehurst scored 10 of her 12 points during a decisive 19-7 second half run for the Dukes, who trailed by a point with 14:15 left before surging in front. Whitehurst also had two blocked shots and now has 56 for her career, the most for a single season in JMU history.  Tarik Hislop led JMU with 15 points.
Second round: Sunday, 2 p.m. vs. Wake Forest

Other WNIT results:

Drexel 57, Fairfield 41
Harvard 73, Hofstra 71
Appalachian State 79, UNC Wilmington 73

N.C. State 88, High Point 78
Wake Forest 72, Charlotte 61

Atlantic 10
St. Joseph's 67, Boston University 56
Temple 75, Quinnipiac 60

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