Richmond, Va. -- No. 6 Rhode Island defeated No. 11 La Salle, 65-60, Thursday night in the final second-round game of the 2015 Atlantic 10 Championship. With the win, the Rams earned their first victory at the Atlantic 10 Championship in six years, and advanced to the quarterfinals.
Rhode Island will play No. 3 seed Duquesne in the quarterfinal round Friday night at 7 p.m. During the regular season, the Rams split with the Dukes, winning 62-61 at home on Jan. 3, and falling at Duquesne, 60-50 on Feb. 22.
Rhode Island (17-12) trailed 58-57 with 47 seconds to go when junior captain Tayra Melendez buried her first field goal of the game, a 3-pointer from the top of the key, to put the Rams up 60-58. On the ensuing La Salle possession, Melendez went to the ground to control a loose ball rebound and alertly called time out.
From there, the Rams made 5-for-6 from the free throw line as junior Symone Bullard, captain Brianna Thomas and senior Sydney Lewis helped Rhody put the game away at the charity stripe.
The victory was Rhode Island's first in the tournament since March 6, 2009, when it upset George Washington, 62-58, in the opening round.