Philadelphia - Junior guard Kamile Nacickaite matched her career high with 30 points for Drexel but a 22-2 run by VCU late in the game allowed the Rams to edge Drexel 73-67. It was only the second home loss all season for the Dragons (15-11, 7-8 CAA). Courtney Hurt led VCU (16-9, 11-4) with 29 points and 11 boards.
The Dragons led by as much as 14 pointsi in the first half and held a 10-point lead with just under nine minutes left in the game, but a 22-2 rally led by Andrea Barbour and Courtney Hurt allowed the Rams to pull ahead by 10 points by the 2:37 mark in the game. Virgnia Commonwealth did not hold a lead in the contest until the 6-minute mark when Hurt knocked down a layup to give the Rams a 55-54 lead.
Four minutes later, it was Drexel who was looking at a 10-point deficit and trying to mount a comeback. The Dragons nearly pulled it off, with a three-pointer by Jasmina Rosseel and back-to-back layups by Nacickaite sandwiched around a steal by Rosseel to make it a three-point game with a minute to play.
Hurt and Sonia Johnson each made one of two from the free-throw line on successive VCU possessions to give the Rams a 70-65 advantage with 38 seconds left. As Drexel hurried the ball down court Nacickaite dribbled off a screen by Ayana Lee at the top of the arc and drilled a three-pointer as Lee and Barbour, Nacickaite's defender, tumbled to the ground. Barbour was whistled for a pushing foul as Nacickaite released the shot and after a review by the officials, Nacickaite's three-pointer was disallowed and Lee was awarded two free throws with the Dragons in the double bonus.
The play, which could have meant a four-point swing for the Dragons, resulted instead with Lee knocking down both free tosses for what would prove to be Drexel's final points of the game. Hurt made 3-of-4 from the free-throw line in the last 20 seconds of the game to hold off the Dragons.
Drexel shot 45.5 percent in the game, but just 38 percent in the second half, and committed 19 turnovers in the game, which resulted in 28 points for VCU. Much like the teams' first meeting of the season, a six-point VCU win in Richmond at the end of January, the Rams shot well from the floor, making 52.2 percent of their shots and scoring 36 points in the paint. Barbour (24) and Hurt (29) combined to score 53 of VCU's 73 points. VCU made 22 free throws while taking 29 trips to the stripe, the most for a Drexel opponent this season.
The Dragons dominated play in the first half, using a full-court trap to generate 14 VCU turnovers and open up a 22-8 lead. Nacickaite scored 20 of her 30 points in the half and knocked down her first five shots of the game, which included three three-pointers.
The hapless Rams turned the ball over twice on inbounds passes and looked sluggish against the Drexel pressure. But in a minute-and-a-half spurt at the end of the half Barbour bookended a jumper and a driving layup around a Hurt three-pointer to slice Drexel's lead down to eight points and give the Dragons an ominous preview of their ability to rally.
The victory was Drexel's second home loss of the season and marked the first two-game regular-season series sweep by VCU since the 2003-04 season.
Drexel hits the road next week to play at Northeastern on Thursday and Towson on Sunday before returning home on March 2 to close out the regular season against Old Dominion at the DAC.