The Collegian
Saturday, July 04, 2020

Women's basketball falls in opening exhibition game

Collegian Staff

The University of Richmond women's basketball team lost 66-64 to DT3 -- a traveling team of recent college players -- but the Spiders gained some valuable lessons from the game and now have 10 days to improve before their opening game against Kennesaw State University.

"[The experience] is invaluable," said Richmond coach Michael Shafer. "This game is really early for us. The positive is that we have 10 days to work on our weaknesses."

The Spiders had a chance to tie the game and force overtime, but Richmond sophomore Brittani Shells missed a layup with one second left. DT3 got the rebound and won the game.

"Playing a close game and experiencing a loss, it will motivate us," Shafer said.

All five of the freshmen on the team -- Joyous Tharrington, Abby Oliver, Samantha Bilney, Rachael Bilney and Johanna McKnight, who is a redshirt freshman -- got playing time. Tharrington, Oliver and Samantha Bilney all started the game.

"It was really exciting [playing for the first time]," Samantha Bilney said. "I got kind of nervous when I first put [the uniform] on."

Richmond was leading by 5 points with nine minutes left in the game, but DT3 then took control of the game. Valarie Muneoke scored with just under two minutes left to give DT3 a 62-61 lead. Richmond was not able to retake it again.

"I thought we were very good at times," Shafer said, "and I thought we were very inconsistent at times. When we got a lead we would relax and they would then make a run. It's very hard to turn it on again."

Three Spiders scored in double figures, with Shells leading the Spiders with 15 points. She also helped the team with her five rebounds and one assist.

The loss showed the team what it would need to work on in practice before its opener in 10 days. Shafer noted the team needed to focus on rebounding and bolstering its defense. Offensively, he said the team need to "look for a great shot, and not settle for a good shot."

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"We have a lot of time to sharpen up our defense rotation, and our offensive execution," said Samantha Bilney. "We need to fine tune everything."

The game was played in Robins Center -- virtually empty -- likely because of Election Night and the game's exhibition status.

The Spiders open their season at home versus Kennesaw State at 7 p.m. on Nov. 14.

Contact staff writer Andrew Prezioso at andrew.prezioso@richmond.edu

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