Jaguars Escape VCU With a 70-69 Win Despite Blowing 19 Point Lead

Photo courtesy of IUPUI Athletics

Photo courtesy of IUPUI Athletics

It was only a matter of time.

Despite starting the season 0-for-12 from three, head coach Austin Parkinson knew that much about when freshman point guard Sydney Hall would finally hit a shot from behind the arc.

“Sydney is a phenomenal player, and we’ve been saying as a staff, ‘When are they going to go in?’” Parkinson said. “She makes them every day in practice. We knew it was going to come. We just weren’t sure when.”

In Saturday night’s 70-69 win over VCU, it did.

Hall was 5-for-8 from three and finished with 19 points on the night—six of them coming on the Jaguars’ 13-0 run to open the second quarter. The team’s 62.5 shooting percentage in the first half helped give them a 42-25 advantage heading into the break.

While her 16 first-half points led all players in scoring, Hall takes little credit for her team’s dominant first-half performance.

“I just do what I can for the team,” Hall said. “Usually I’m the one trying to get everyone their shots, but tonight they were driving and kicking and getting me open for some shots. It felt great, but I’m just glad we won.”

Hall wasn’t the only one making plays down the stretch.

After pushing their lead to 19 to start the second half, seven turnovers in the third quarter led to a Rams’ 18-6 run. For the second-straight game, the Jaguars watched their early big lead evaporate, letting VCU score 27 points off of turnovers.

That, however, is when Jaguars’ junior center Mikale Rogers, who scored 13 of her 19 points in the fourth quarter, made her mark.

With the Jaguars trailing 69-67 and just 6.9 seconds left to play, Rogers found the net for the finish and a foul, connecting on the game-winning free throw and leading her team to the victory at home and a 2-1 record on the year.

“It’s not rocket science. Everyone in the building knew we should throw to Mikale,” Parkinson said. “We finally started to do that with a little patience, and when we did, she was hard to stop.”

As the team prepares to take on Oakland City at home next Sat. at 7 p.m., Parkinson stresses the importance of limiting turnovers and blown leads moving forward.

“It’s been two games in a row now that our kids have shown a lot of toughness down the stretch and made some stops, but the games could have gone either way,” Parkinson said. “We need to do a better job of coming out of half with a sense of urgency, and we’re going to have to figure out how to do that.”