Women’s basketball extends historic undefeated run to 12 in blowout road win

Hattix-Covington led the way with 13 points against her former team. PHOTO CREDIT: gorhody.com

Rhody women’s basketball has been the talk of the town in Kingston throughout the year as their 2022-23 regular season is coming to an end.

 The team is in the final stretch of their schedule as they traveled to Richmond, Virginia on Sunday and took down the opposing Rams of Virginia Commonwealth University in a 63-31 road win. 

The women’s only three losses on the season came from road appearances, and the program as a whole had never beaten VCU on their home floor until this past Sunday. 

The trip to Virginia would mark the first time graduate fifth-year  Madison Hattix-Covington has been there since her transfer to Rhode Island. The forward spent her first four years at VCU, and was a part of their 2021 A-10 Championship team. 

“I was a little nervous at first, but as the game went on I felt like I calmed down and felt we were able to play as a team, especially our defense,” Hattix-Covington said post-game.

Defense was the name of the game as Rhody came out holding VCU to only eight points in the first quarter, and would hold them to no more than nine points in the remaining three. 

“We talked more on defense, communicated better through screens, and just connected well as a unit,” Hattix-Covington said.  

This performance on defense from Rhode Island was both a season low in points for any URI opponent, and VCU’s lowest point total in one game for the season. Rhode Island held VCU to 24.1 percent from the floor, 8.3 percent from behind the arc, and just 2-for-4 at the free throw line. 

“This was by far one of our best defensive efforts so far this season,” head coach Tammi Reiss said. “Usually our team tends to struggle in the third quarter, but we came out of the half firing on all cylinders and our defense really sparked our offense in transition.” 

Starting the third quarter up 26-16, Rhody’s dominant performance would only increase from the first half as they outscored VCU 16-6 in the opening minutes. 

Rhode Island would end the contest shooting a total of 67 percent from behind the arc, and 60 percent from the field. Hattix-Covington led the Rhody offense with 13 points and knocked down a pair of triples. Third-year guard Dolly Cairns would follow with 11 points and sink three three’s of her own as well. 

With this win, Rhode Island has clinched a double bye in the postseason tournament and a top three seed in the A-10 Conference. The 12 wins in a row is the second longest win streak in program history. Rhode Island is one shy of the program record, which was set last season at 13.

“A statement win for sure…these previous twelve wins are a great boost for confidence, but to me it’s just another game,” Reiss said. “Our next goal is UMass and that’s all we’re focused on right now.” 

The Rams are still undefeated in Kingston, and will look to continue this momentum back at the Ryan Center on Thursday against UMass before one last road trip to end off the regular season. The women will head back on the road starting on Feb. 19 at St. Joseph’s, followed by a trip to New York to face Fordham on Feb. 22. 

Tip-off for Thursday’s game is set for 6 p.m. and will be covered on ESPN+ and The Varsity Network.