File1, 2, & 3 for trobinson:



VCU (21-8, 13-3 A-10) has seen a 14-win improvement over last season
heading into the A-10 tournament, hosted by Duquesne in Pittsburgh.
They're the top seed and received a bye to the quaterfinals. They'll face
No. 8 seed Saint Joseph's on Friday at 11 a.m. All that with a roster that
still has no seniors.

Last year's roste featured eight total freshman, and all but one were
true freshmen. This year's roster includes three freshman, six sophomores
and five juniors. O'Boyle said that one of hte hardest things as a
freshman is undeerstanding how much faster and stronger the competition
is in college.

A much higher percentage of the roster now has that experience. The big
difference between last year and this year, though, is the Rams'
competitiveness in practice. "We have such a deep team and so well
balanced that makes our practices that way," O'Boyle said.


The team was coming off a challenging 2017-18 season, finishing 7-22
overall while fielding a roster that included seven true freshmen and a
redshirt freshman, with no seniors, two juniors and four sophomores. This
year, that roster makeup has shifted into a group that features, in part,
six sophomores and five juniors (with still no seniors). As those young
players have matured, a leap has come swiftly.

The Rams matched last year's win total on Dec.21 and surpassed it 10 days
later. They began Atlantic 10 play 5-0 -- their best start in conference
competition since 2009-10. They are now 15-6 overall and 7-1 in A-10 play.
When it comes to that identity, the Rams have made defense their calling

Entering the day Wednesday, the Rams were all alone at the top of the
A-10 standings. But they now there's still a long way to go, and are
taking things one practice at and one game at a time. O'Boyle said her
still young group is still trying to get better.


VCU is ranked second nationally in three defensive categories: scoring
defense, field goal percentage defense, and 3-point field goal percentage
defense. O'Boyle said that, coming off a tough year, it's about the
response. Subsequently, she felt that the Rams had a great response.

She saw more competitiveness in practices going back to before the season.
Then sophomore guard Taya Robinson, a former Huguenot standout, spoke
before the season about the increased energy she saw. This week, Robinson
said that she feels the Rams' energy has a lot to do with their defense
being better.

"But I think it's also just us growing and learning and knowing more about
the game," Robinson said. VCU began the season with a 17-point win at
William & Mary on Nov. 6. Eight days after that, the team went to Chapel
Hill and competed with North Carolina -- it led for much of the first half
before falling 59-47.

No lines are longer than 80 characters, TYVM. Other specified properties aren't being scored automatically at this time so this is not necessarily good news...