Lady Monarchs Continue Their Winning Ways after Rolling Past VCU 66-41

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ODU Athletics

Senior guard Kaya Clark looks for an open teammate as she drives toward the basket.

Noah Fort, Associate Sports Editor

Looking to extend their four-game win streak and four-game home win streak, the Old Dominion University (ODU) Women’s Basketball team (7-3) took on their former rival, Virginia Commonwealth University (3-7). In their last matchup against the Rams, the Monarchs were bested 48-71. However, the Monarchs came out on top Thursday night, 66-41.

It was a back-and-forth battle. The Monarchs started off slow in the first half. Looking fatigued and out of their groove, the team was outscored by VCU 16-14. Throughout the first quarter, they couldn’t seem to find their way over the hump and VCU held the lead for most of the quarter. Their lead totaled to 8:45 seconds while the Monarchs had no lead at all. 

The second quarter was the same, except the Rams held the lead for a longer period of time (9:21). It was an evenly matched quarter in terms of scoring; both teams scored a total of 11 points. Throughout the second quarter, the Monarchs missed key shots, making only four out of their 14 attempts, along with five turnovers. However, the Rams were in the same boat, making five of their 12 attempts and committing seven turnovers. Luckily for ODU, VCU scored 0 points off of their turnovers, while ODU scored seven points off of VCU’s.

When asked about what was going on with her team in the first half, ODU women’s basketball head coach, DeLisha Milton-Jones, stated, “Emotionally people were maybe a little subdued and it had them flat-footed. Normally we depend on certain players to provide energy through what they’re saying, the light in their eyes, and the energy that they give each other.” 

It took ODU until the beginning of the second half to gain their first lead. After a stern half-time speech from Coach Milton-Jones, the Monarchs realized it was time for them to wake up and get their heads in the game. It began at the 9:49 mark of the third quarter when grad transfer guard Makayla Dickens sank a three-point jump shot, putting her team up 28-27. She would go on to sink a consecutive three-pointer after a steal by senior forward Amari Young. 

 From there, the Monarchs picked up their pace and went on a seven-point scoring run until VCU’s center Samantha Robinson made a jump shot just outside the paint. But this didn’t faze ODU. The Monarchs forced six turnovers and scored 14 points off VCU. After consecutive turnovers, Rams head coach Beth O’Boyle was forced to call a full timeout, but this did not slow down the Monarchs. Briana Jackson earned a second chance bucket out of the timeout, followed by junior guard Jordan McLaughlin’s ferocious block. 

All of this added fuel to an already ignited fire. ODU turned the tables on the Rams and held the lead for 9:49 seconds, while VCU held no lead at all. ODU went on to end the quarter on a 16-point scoring run and hold a 20-point lead. They outscored the Rams 26-4, shooting 73.3% from the field by making 11 of their 15 shot attempts.

ODU brought the same intensity into the fourth quarter and didn’t look back. This time, Amari got them started after a VCU turnover that led to her easy layup. Amari was a force to be reckoned with as she racked up six points off of VCU turnovers. After obtaining two double-doubles in the past two games, she led the charge tonight with 17 points and eight rebounds. She credited her teammates for those last two performances, as well as for Friday nights. “I say my teammates just have been motivating me on the floor. And trying to slow down and take what the defense gives me,” she said.

Makayla Dickens and Brianna Jackson had a decent game themselves. Dickens scored 12 points, shooting 66.67% from the field and 60% from three point range. Jackson scored eight points off the bench, shooting 50% from the field. Regarding Jackson’s performance, Coach Milton-Jones stated, “She was very solid, I felt like she anchored us in the paint.” Additionally, she credited Amari and Jada Duckett, as she considers the three of them to be a “three-headed monster”. “When we have a three-headed monster with her [Amari], Jada Duckett, and Brianna, I feel like we are in a great position. Now we have balance from the inside out.” 

This Sunday, the Monarchs will face the Norfolk State Spartans (9-1) in what will be a battle of the city. Both Amari and Coach Milton-Jones are looking for a supportive crowd to show up and show out. Coach highlighted that this will be a challenge, but it’s a battle she and her team are ready for The game is slated to tip-off at 2 p.m. at the Chartway arena.