The Collegian
Sunday, February 25, 2024

Women's basketball comes up short against Towson

The Towson University Tigers handed the Spiders their first loss of the season at the Robins Center Saturday night, beating the team 56-48.

Brittani Shells opened the game with a jump-shot two-pointer. But for the remainder of the half, the Tigers had firm control of the game, holding the Spiders to three points during the first eight minutes of the game and leading by as many as eight points.

The Spiders pulled within four points by halftime, but the team's first 20 minutes of play were sloppier than the first half of last week's winning game over the College of William and Mary, during which the Spiders also started slowly.

The Tigers allowed only 18 points during the first half. The Spiders, meanwhile, shot 25 percent from the field and were 2-9 from three-point range. The team's defense was strong, but several players got into foul trouble, committing eight personal fouls total during the first minutes of the half.

During the second half, the Spiders showed increased energy. Rachel Bilney came into the game, and she, along with senior Johanna McKnight, led the way to a five-point lead with 12:50 left to play.

But the effort was not enough to hold off the Tigers, led by junior guard Shanae Brice-Parker, who scored 19 points during the game.

With four minutes remaining, the Spiders made a final attempt at a comeback. At 3:30, Britanni Shells, who had been held out of the lane for most of the game, found an opening and made a layup, drawing a foul and bringing the Spiders to within one point of the lead. But after her free-throw tied the game, the Tigers regained the lead at 3:08 and would not give it back.

"We were lackadaisical," Rachel Bilney said. "We lost or focus, and we played without emotion."

Towson coach Joe Mathews said that he thought the Tigers were playing Richmond at a good time.

"I think we were lucky to be playing them when we did, during finals," Mathews said."They are a tough team."

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But Bilney said that finals didn't explain the team's performance during the game.

"I'm not here to make excuses," she said. "We made the mistakes. It's on us."

Mathews said that the resurgent Spiders during the second-half worried him. When Bilney connected two consecutive three-pointers, he said that he made adjustments.

"When they moved Bilney to the four spot, it began to bother us," he said. "They started getting some really good looks, but they just were not falling. These are two great basketball teams. We just happened to come out on top tonight."

Richmond coach Micheal Shafer said after the game that the team was not in the right mindset. The Spiders were out-rebounded 47-43 and finished the game with 11 steals, down from the 18 they had against William and Mary.

"You've got to give Towson credit," he said. "They played well in the first half, and we lost our focus. We need to work on getting our mentality back."

Contact staff writer David Larter at david.larter@richmond.edu

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