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VCU loses to James Madison in Gold Rush Night, 62-60 The Commonwealth Times

VCU players huddle together after the loss. Photo by Andrew Hill

Thailon Wilson, Staff Writer

VCU fell to the James Madison University Dukes in a matchup that went down to the final minutes, 62-60.

This head to head matchup was the Gold Rush Night and Title IX game at the Stuart C. Siegel Center to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights law.

Title IX is the civil rights law that states that institutions and educational programs that receive federal funding are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of someone’s sex, according to the U.S. Department of Education

VCU head coach Beth O’Boyle said the Gold Rush Night game was great to be able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX for what it means for her and athletes around the country.

“It’s exciting to be able to celebrate 50 years of Title IX. I think about all the women pioneers that came before us, so that we can have the opportunity that we have right now to play Division I athletics,” O’Boyle said. 

The stadium announcer gave a synopsis of what Title IX is and how important the decision is for women’s athletics during the pre-game announcements, as well as during halftime.

During halftime, the Jumbotron showed a video montage of female athletes from different sports at VCU. The athletes explained how important Title IX is and how it allowed them to play the sports they love.

The stadium announcer also gave a special welcome to female athletes from Matoaca High School and Shining Stars Sports Academy. 

The Rams and Dukes started the quarter going back and forth all the way to the four-minute mark with a 10-9 lead.

After a layup by VCU freshman forward Jennifer Ezeh, the Rams went on an uncontested 12-3 run to end the first quarter which gave the black and gold a 7-point lead, 20-13.

Ezeh said that it feels good to be able to provide for the team and finish what her teammates set up for her.

“It feels so good knowing that my teammates got my back every time and to be able to finish,” Ezeh said.

In the second quarter, VCU was able to prevent JMU from scoring for the first six minutes of play, until a three-pointer made by JMU junior guard Peyton McDaniel. 

The Dukes continued to scratch off VCU’s lead, but the Rams were able to maintain their lead and went into halftime up 33-26.

JMU came out in the third quarter hot with a 9-0 run, which made the score 35-33 and gave the Dukes their first lead since the first quarter. 

The Rams were able to break their cold streak and went back and forth with the Dukes until a last-second layup by JMU senior guard Kiki Jefferson made the score 47-46.

The fourth quarter started the same way in which the Dukes and Rams continued to trade baskets.

After leaving in the third quarter because of an injury she received to her leg, VCU junior Sarah Te-Biasu scored a pull-up jumper to tie the game at 53-53 with six minutes left.

Te-Biasu said she was sore from the fall, but after some treatment, she’ll be all right.

“Right now, I’m feeling very sore, but after some treatment I’ll be ready for the next practice and the next game,” Te-Biasu said.

The game kept going back and forth until JMU’s Jefferson sank two free throws with 14 seconds left to give the Dukes the 62-60 2-point lead as well as sealed the game for James Madison. 

O’Boyle said the loss was hard, but she liked the team’s spirit they showed until the final buzzer.

“Obviously that was a tough and disappointing loss, but overall I just love the competitiveness our team comes out and plays with,” O’Boyle said.

The Rams will be heading down to Greenville, South Carolina to face off against the East Carolina University Pirates at the Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on Dec. 4. 

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