VCU women ousted in first round of NCAA Tournament

VCU women ousted in first round of NCAA Tournament
VCU celebrates its Atlantic 10 Tournament win on March 14, 2021. (Source: VCU Athletics)

SAN ANTONIO, TX (WWBT) - It was a memorable season that met its end in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but a campaign that signifies a program’s turnaround in a short period of time.

The VCU women’s basketball team fell to Indiana, 63-32, in the first round on Monday afternoon, concluding the Rams’ season with a 16-11 record. It marked the black and gold’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2009 and just their second in history.

Chloe Bloom’s rebound and put-back with 4:56 remaining in the second quarter put VCU up, 17-16, but Indiana rattled off six straight points to end the frame and take a 22-17 advantage into halftime.

The second half belonged to the Hoosiers, including a fourth quarter that saw them outscore the Rams, 22-3, and hold them to 0-11 shooting.

VCU struggled to get the ball in the basket throughout the game, shooting just 22.8 percent from the floor. Indiana forced the Rams into 14 turnovers, scoring 19 points off of those giveaways.

Chloe Bloom and Samantha Robinson each led VCU with eight points and five rebounds. Indiana’s Grace Berger led all scorers with 20 points and added eight boards.

It ended the campaign on a sour note, but Beth O’Boyle couldn’t stop complimenting her senior class. It’s a group of players that went 7-23 during their first season, but did a great deal to turn the program around, advancing to three consecutive Atlantic 10 championship games, winning the 2021 conference title.

“I’m proud to be the VCU coach. I’m proud that my first trip to the NCAA Tournament as a head coach was with them,” O’Boyle said after Monday’s loss. “I couldn’t have chosen any other players to do it with and, to be honest, what they have overcome this season- I don’t even think you can put it into words.”

After being picked to win the Atlantic 10, the Rams got out of the gate slowly this season, beginning their schedule 2-5. They endured two COVID-19-related stoppages, pausing basketball activities on January 17 and again on February 4. VCU finished fifth in the A-10 regular season standings, but rattled off four wins in four days to take home the program’s first ever Atlantic-10 championship, doing so on its home floor. The final three victories of that run came over teams that had defeated the black and gold during the regular season.

Unless she opts to return and take advantage of extra eligibility granted by the NCAA, Huguenot product Taya Robinson capped off her collegiate career on Monday afternoon. Her senior season included All-Atlantic 10 First Team honors, as she led VCU with 14.7 points per game this season.

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