Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Richmond holds off VCU

VCU got a monster night from Robyn Parks.

Richmond got a monster night from behind the 3-point line.

The Spiders' 3s won out - barely.

Richmond splashed a season-high 12 3-pointers to overcome Parks' 29-point, 20-rebound barrage and hold off the Rams 66-62 Wednesday night at the Robins Center. It was the Spiders' fifth straight victory in the series and 13th in the last 15 meetings.

More importantly, it strengthened the Spiders' case for landing a spot in the 12-team Atlantic 10 Tournament. Richmond (14-13, 4-7 A-10) is now in a four-way tie for ninth place with three games remaining. The Spiders must also keep an eye on maintaining at least a .500 overall record to qualify for a WNIT bid should they fail to win the A-10 Tournament.

Meanwhile, VCU (10-16, 3-8) dropped one spot out of the field for now into 13th place and makes Saturday's 1 p.m. home game against Xavier (10-15, 4-7) something close to a must-win affair. The Musketeers are a game ahead of the Rams in the conference standings.

Richmond's Bilney sisters combined for 75 percent of Richmond's 3-point assault against the Rams as Rachael, who was honored pre-game for notching her 1,000th career point, hit nailed five of them and her twin sister Samantha drilled four on her way to a career-high 14 points.

The Spiders led 63-49 with just over six minutes remaining before the Rams ripped off 11 straight points to get to within three points with less than a minute left. Richmond finally sealed the deal with - what else? - a Rachael Bilney 3 with 24 seconds left.

It was the second time in less than a month a Richmond basketball team has burned VCU with 12 3-pointers. On Jan. 25, also at the Robins Center, the Spider men connected on a dozen from distance in an 86-74 overtime decision over the then-16th-ranked Rams. The victory snapped a 13-game  Rams winning streak.

The loss spoiled a career night for VCU's Parks, who made 8 of 16 field goals and 13 of 17 free throws. It was the second 20-20 effort in as many seasons for the Rams, who got a 32-point, 21-rebound effort from Courtney Hurt against Morgan State last season.

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