RICHMOND, Va. - The Saint Joseph's women's basketball team dropped a hard-fought battle at VCU, 73-69, Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Down by as many as 14 in the first half, the Hawks would rally to make it a six point game at halftime and were the aggressor to start the second as it used a 13-4 run to take a 50-47 edge on a pair of free throws by Ciara Andrews at 13:24.
The lead would trade hands three times from there as neither team would gain more than a three-point lead as it was tied at 69-69 with under three minutes to play.
A driving layup by Keira Robinson put the Rams ahead 71-69 with 1:20 to play, with a free throw by Zakia Williams pushing the lead to 72-69 with 24 seconds to play.
The Hawks (12-4, 2-2 A-10) had a chance to tie it, but missed on a three-pointer and Ryen Henry would go on to ice it on a free throw with four seconds to go.
Up 12-10 to start the contest, VCU quickly pushed its lead to 14 points on a three-pointer by Monnaz Finney-Smith at 11:30. The Rams built their lead over the four-minute span as Saint Joseph's shot just 2-of-10 from the floor, allowing VCU to go on its 17-5 run.
The Hawks battled back, slowly chipping away at the Rams' lead. Down 40-32, Saint Joseph's got a free throw from Ashley Robinson and baskets by Geena Gomez and Sarah Fairbanks to make it 40-37 with under two minutes to play in the half.
VCU (15-2, 3-1 A-10) would get a three-pointer by Finney-Smith in the final minutes to give her team a 43-37 edge going into the second half.
For the game, the Hawks shot 37.3 percent from the field (25-of-67), and hit 6-of-20 from three-point range and 13-of-15 from the foul line (86.7 percent). SJU finished with a 51-43 advantage in rebounding, but turned the ball over 23 times.
Individually, Fairbanks had a team-high 14 points, while Ciara Andrews and Shields each had 13 points. Senior Kelsey Berger was the fourth Hawk in double figures, adding 13 points, while classmate Ilze Gotfrida had a career-high 13 rebounds to go with four points.
At the other end, VCU shot 34.3 percent overall (24-of-70), 38.9 percent from behind the arc (7-of-18) and 72 percent from the foul line (18-of-25). Robinson led five Rams in double figures with 21 points.
Saint Joseph's returns to action Friday when it hosts Penn at 7 p.m.