Outscoring VCU 47-18 in the second half, the Saint Joseph's women's basketball team opened Atlantic 10 play with a convincing 79-41 win over the Rams on Sunday afternoon at Hagan Arena.

Led by junior Sarah Veilleux's game-high 20 points, the Hawks improved to 6-7 on the year and opened conference play with a win for the 29th time in program history.

After a back-and-forth opening quarter, Saint Joseph's began to pull away from VCU in the second period. Ahead 14-12, the Hawks put together an 11-2 run as a pair of free throws by senior Chelsea Woods made it 25-14 with 5:21 to go in the period.

Up 13 early in the third, Saint Joseph's saw its advantage cut to six, 36-30, on a free throw by Danielle Hammond at the 4:43 mark.

The Hawks would allow the Rams to get no closer from there as SJU responded with a 31-4 run that pushed its lead to 67-34 on a three-pointer by junior Alyssa Monaghan with 5:55 to go in the fourth. Saint Joseph's finished the second half going 18-of-32 from the floor (.563 percent) and 8-of-13 from behind the arc (.615 percent) as it moved to 29-6 all-time in A-10 openers.

For the game, SJU went 31-of-61 from the field (50.8 percent), 11-of-22 from three-point range and 6-of-11 from the foul line (54.5 percent), while finishing with a 48-23 edge in rebounding.

Veilleux hit 7-of-13 from the floor, including 5-of-7 from behind the arc, for her third 20-point performance of the year. Monaghan added 17 points to go with a career-high eight assists, while Woods finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the year. Graduate student Amanda Fioravanti was the fourth Hawk in double figures as she finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, while senior Adashia Franklyn grabbed a game-high 13 boards and scored eight points.

At the other end, Tera Reed led the Rams with 12 points, while VCU was held to 25.6 percent shootinng (15-of-56) and 21.4 percent from three-point range (3-of-14), while going 8-of-16 from the foul line.

The Hawks are back in action on Wednesday as they open the road portion of their conference schedule at St. Bonaventure at 7 p.m.

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