FOR A NIGHT, RAMS SETTLE INTO NEW SYSTEM

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Freshman Jessica Pellechio hit 9-of-18 three-pointers and poured in 30 points as VCU earned its first win of the High Octane era under Marlene Stollings

RICHMOND, Va. – So, this is High Octane.

After three games of starts, stops, spurts and sputters, VCU’s new look, dubbed “High Octane” by first-year Head Coach Marlene Stollings, clicked Tuesday night in a 79-55 rout of UMKC.

“I’m very proud of our young ladies,” Stollings said. “It’s not easy to go on the road to start the season, and this was well earned and well deserved to come back home and get an opportunity to show our fans for the first time with the new system and the new staff basically what we want to be about, which is getting up and down the floor and shooting three ball, which are two things we did very well tonight.”

You could argue Stollings was even being a bit modest. At the forefront of VCU’s shift into high gear was something she promised would be a High Octane staple, 3-point shooting. The Rams punished the Kangaroos’ zone to the tune of a school-record 13 three-pointers, including nine from freshman guard Jessica Pellechio, who finished with 30 points. Pellechio hit 9-of-18 from beyond the arc and was one 3-pointer short of tying the VCU record of 10, set by Meagan Evans in 2001.

“I struggled my first few shots,” Pellechio said. “Sometimes you’ve got to keep shooting as a shooter, but good shots, you never want to be off balance or [shooting] bad shots. We got it in and back out and set up my rhythm, and after a while you keep shooting and it falls.”

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STOLLINGS, RAMS IN TRANSITION

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First-year coach Marlene Stollings’ up-tempo style of play has been well-received by returning players.

RICHMOND, Va. – Marlene Stollings has always been most comfortable in transition. As a player, she was at her best when the court was wide open and the possibilities were unlimited.

Her mindset in her first season as the coach of the VCU Women’s Basketball team isn’t much different. Stollings, who led Winthrop to an 18-13 record a year ago, will try to guide the Rams through a major makeover in 2012-13.

There has been heavy roster turnover. Four of the Rams’ top five scorers have either graduated or transferred, including All-American Courtney Hurt (22.3 ppg, 13.1 rpg) and Andrea Barbour (17.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg). VCU’s leading returning scorer is junior Robyn Parks, who averaged 6.6 points per game last season. There are five freshmen on the roster and several others with limited in-game experience.

But Stollings doesn’t seem bothered.

“It’s been an extraordinary journey so far,” she said. “We’re just looking and moving forward with all of our thoughts and actions. The transition has been a bit of a whirlwind in terms of our lateness of arriving here, but nonetheless, it’s been extraordinary so far.”

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STOLLINGS PROMISES HIGH-OCTANE HOOPS

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New VCU Women’s Basketball promises up-tempo, entertaining and, most importantly, winning hoops.

RICHMOND, Va. – Let’s get this out of the way. Marleen Stollings, introduced as the 13th women’s basketball coach in VCU history Wednesday, wants to put points on the board.

It’s not that she values scoring over everything else; she doesn’t. She wants to win first, but believes basketball is most interesting when you get out in transition, get to the rim, kick to open shooters for bushels of 3-pointers and just generally light up the scoreboard.

Stolling’s basketball worldview was shaped early in her career, when she discovered she had an innate score’s mentality. Judging by her 3,514 points as a prep star at Eastern High School in Ohio (the most in state history), she knows a thing or two about scoring the basketball.

Last year, in her first season at Winthrop, she led the Eagles to an 18-13 record, a five-win improvement over 2010-11 and the second most in the school’s 26-year Division I history. But it’s not just what she was able to do in one season at Winthrop, it’s how.  It also shows us what VCU fans can expect on the court at the Verizon Wireless Arena in the future.

“I don’t think too many recruits get excited about a grind-it-out, 55-54 game,” Stollings, the 2012 Big South Coach of the Year, said Wednesday. “I think they’d much rather get involved in something where you’re scoring in the 70s and 80s.”

Here’s a comparison of Winthrop before and after Stollings took over:

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