Sophomore guard Monnazjea Finney-Smith (Wilson H.S./Portsmouth, Va.) came off the bench to score 14 points, including eight in the first half, as VCU (4-3) held off a second half charge by UNCW (2-4) to earn a 59-53 non-conference victory over the Seahawks at Trask Coliseum on Tuesday evening.
The Rams, who were playing their fifth consecutive road game, ended a two-game losing streak while handing the Seahawks their fourth loss in a row.
After the teams battled to an 11-11 tie in the opening 12 minutes of the game, the Rams put together a 9-3 run to take a 20-14 lead with 5:02 left on a jumper by sophomore guard Chadarryl Clay (Girls Preparatory School/Auburn, Ala.).
The Seahawks trimmed the margin to 20-17 with a traditional three-point play from sophomore guard Naqaiyyah Teague (Malcolm X. Shabazz H.S./Newark, N.J.) with 4:05 remaining before the Rams used a 14-5 run over the final four minutes of the half to take a 34-22 lead into the intermission.
VCU extended the advantage to 43-25 in the first four minutes of the second half before the Seahawks scored 16 of the next 17 points to close the gap to 44-41 with 8:12 remaining on a lay-up by senior guard Kelva Atkins (Granville Central H.S./Stem, N.C.). Sophomore guard Brie Mobley (Winter Haven H.S./Winter Haven, Fla.) scored eight points for the Seahawks during the run.
But, the Rams answered by going on an 8-2 run for a 52-43 lead with 4:27 remaining. The Seahawks trimmed the margin to 57-53 with 21 seconds left on a pair of Atkins free throws, but the Rams made two of four free throws in the closing seconds to seal the victory.
Finney-Smith made five of six shots from the floor, including all four of her three-point attempts, to lead the Rams while junior guard Adaeze Mitchell (Roland Park Country School/Baltimore, Md.) added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Atkins led the Seahawks in the loss by scoring a game-high 17 points with nine rebounds and five steals. Playing in her third game of the season, Mobley came off the bench to contribute 12 points by making 6 of 12 shots from the floor.
Led by a career-high 14 rebounds from Teague, the Seahawks held a 51-37 rebounding edge over the Rams and recorded a season-high 23 offensive rebounds.
The Seahawks, who are in the middle of a six-game homestand, will be idle until Wednesday, Dec. 17 when they host the University of Richmond in the first game of a doubleheader at Trask Coliseum. Opening tip-off between the Seahawks and the Spiders is slated for 4:30 p.m.
- UNCW -