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VCU fell 63-32 to Indiana in the team’s second-ever NCAA Tournament game. The Rams last made the tournament in 2009 after receiving an at-large bid. The team failed to get the win, but their time on the court will not be forgotten.
“I told our players and especially our seniors, Olga [Petrova], Sofya [Pashigoreva], Tera [Reed], and Taya [Robinson], there's only been ever two teams to put on the VCU uniform and reach the NCAAs. And the first to win an A-10 title. The amount of time and energy and heart that they put in the season, and in the last four years to accomplish that,” head coach Beth O’Boyle said after the game.
The Rams struggled to find their offense
VCU scored a season-low 32 points against Indiana, the team struggled to find its shot, and no player scored in double figures.
“I don't really think it was our defense that hurt us today it was more of what Indiana did to our offense. We really struggled to get the shots that we wanted to get, and then at times when we did, we needed them to fall. But I thought our team was out there fighting for it, and really just chose to keep the intensity up all the way through,” O’Boyle stated.
Despite scoring just three points in the final frame, the team never gave up and still searched for the best shot possible as they played their final minutes of the season.
The seniors went from near the bottom to the top
As freshmen, the seniors finished 11th in the conference. In the next three years, the team made it to the Atlantic 10 tournament championship game every year, losing twice and winning it in 2021.
“They came in their freshman year and we knew that this was the class that we were going to build the program around and that freshman year we won seven games, lost 23 and I think a lot of programs a lot of players you know you start blaming outside or leave, and that's not what this senior class did,” O’Boyle said.
She added, “They showed, even more, their commitment to VCU to each other to their game to us, and we all got together, we worked harder we did some things differently, and the program just grew, and we went to three straight A-10 championships, obviously winning it this past year, and they have just all grown so much on and off the court.”
The seniors have the opportunity to return if they choose and O’Boyle said that those discussions will happen now that the season has ended.
Reflecting on what she learned during her time at VCU Robinson said, “You put in the work, it's gonna show, you don't always get the result you want. But you put in the work, it'll show, and that's what we do over the last four years to come in winning seven games, going to the championship, not only going to the championship again, not winning, and then coming back on last year, making sure NCAA.”
The program is heading in the right direction
VCU has cemented its place as one of the top A-10 teams in recent years, appearing in the conference tournament championship each of the last three years. The program took a step forward this season making the program’s first NCAA tournament in 12 years.
Robinson reflected on playing in the NCAA Tournament saying, “Those are the type of games we want to be in every night, playing against a team like Indiana. Great team, we want to fight for 40 minutes. And we did, we gave it all we had. But those are the type of teams we want to play every day.”
The Rams played one NCAA tournament team, Stephen F. Austin, in non-conference play and should look to schedule more NCAA tournament-caliber teams in the coming season as they look to continue progressing as a program.