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ODU Women's Basketball Drops Road Game at VCU, 64-50

VCU Athletics

RICHMOND, Va. – Old Dominion women's basketball saw its winning streak come to an end on Sunday as the in-state rivalry game at VCU went to the hosts by a final of 64-50.

En'Dya Buford paced the Monarchs (8-1) in the loss with 15 points, three rebounds, one assist and three steals. The senior from Memphis, Tennessee shot 5-for-10 from the floor, made 1-of-4 shots from beyond the arc, and was a perfect 4-for-4 at the free-throw line. Mimi McCollister was next with nine points while Kaye Clark and Simone Cunningham finished with six points each. Jordan McLaughlin led ODU on the glass with six rebounds.

"We went away from everything that has been working for us, and that's not following the scouting," said head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones. "We did things that were uncharacteristic of us and uncharacteristic of us being successful. We have our schematics and system on the defensive end, but went away from it for whatever reason."

VCU jumped out to an early 7-2 lead to open the game before Buford knocked down a three-pointer from the top of the arc. The Rams (10-1) converted on their next possession, but a Cunningham layup and a floater in the lane by Clark knotted the score at 9-9. Following the media timeout with 4:30 to play in the first quarter, Buford scored a layup to give ODU its first lead at 11-9. The hosts retook the lead, but McLaughlin made a pullup jumper as the opening stanza finished with another tie at 13-13.

Halima Salat started the second quarter with a deep ball from the left wing to make it 16-13 in favor of ODU. McCollister then completed an and-one opportunity to push the lead to 19-17, but VCU scored seven unanswered to wrestle back control. A Clark layup snapped the ODU scoring drought, however the Rams put together a 10-0 run to close out the half and take a 34-21 lead into the locker room.

The Monarchs strung together six straight points early in the third, trimming the VCU lead to 36-29. After the Rams went up by 10 at 39-29 on a Mary-Anna Asare three-pointer, Buford and Clark scored a pair of layups in response. Buford added a pair of free throws and a layup as she tallied seven points in the quarter, but ODU went into the final 10 minutes of the game down 50-39.

ODU couldn't chip away at the VCU lead in the fourth. A long ball from McCollister closed the gap 50-42 with nine minutes left in the game, but that was as close as the Monarchs would get. As VCU went back up by double figures, Buford made two more free throws and Brenda Fontana made 1-of-2 shots at the line to round out the scoring for ODU.

The Monarchs came into the game as the national leader in scoring defense, holding opponents to 46.1 points per game, but allowed their second-most points this season. ODU was also held to just 6-for-7 shooting at the charity stripe, whereas VCU went 15-for-18 at the line. The Rams also edged the Monarchs on the glass, 44-30.

"The rebounding battle was another area of concern," added Milton-Jones. "They had 17 offensive rebounds. That's another thing that's a no-no for us. So if we want to get back to our winning ways, we have to do it on the defensive end of shoring things up and then eating up the glass so that we can get out and run."

ODU is at home this Wednesday as the Monarchs will host No. 3 NC State in the Anne Donovan Classic. Tipoff at Chartway Arena is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

"I'm super excited about the game on the 20th. I'm really expecting a very nice crowd in Chartway Arena and I'm expecting our players to come out with a mindset of redemption," Milton-Jones said in closing.