Sloppy play highlighted Tuesday's women's basketball game at the Robins Center against the No. 25 Wake Forest University Demon Deacons, but Richmond nevertheless earned a 45-33 win, defeating a ranked opponent for the first time in nearly two years.
"We did what we had to do," coach Michael Shafer said. "I told them I didn't want to wake up tomorrow thinking we could have, we would have, we should have."
The Spiders (12-3) turned the ball over 27 times and shot 30 percent from the field, never once making a three-point shot. Still, they forced 29 turnovers from the Demon Deacons (12-1), who shot just 26 percent from the field in the team's first loss of the season.
Richmond was coming off a loss to No. 14/No.16 University of Maryland. The team last defeated a ranked opponent on Feb. 12, 2006.
Much of the Spiders' scoring was evenly split between Brittani Shells, Nikita Thomas and Crystal Goring. Shells shot 4-16 from the field for a team-high 11 points, while Thomas went 5-9 to score 10 points, and also snatch 12 rebounds. Goring also scored 10 points, shooting 50 percent from the field, including 4-4 foul shooting.
"The difference was that we wanted to win so badly," Shells said. "We just continued to play hard and just go at them and that's what caused us to win.
"The balanced scoring with Nikita, myself and Crystal really helped us. If it wasn't really balanced I don't think we would have pulled this off."
Thomas said: "A game is 40 minutes long. We can't have lows because the minute we have a low that could determine between a win and a loss."
For Wake Forest - ranked No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll - Camille Collier scored a team-high 12 points off 5-9 shooting. She had the game's lone three-pointer.
Richmond burst into a 6-0 lead at the start of the game, but the score was tied at 20-20 after the first half. It was during the second half that Richmond and its defense shined.
"We played with more composure," Shafer said, noting that the Spiders played more like a team during the second half. "We've got potential that has not been shown yet."
Thomas said Richmond's defensive efforts generated the team's offense during the second half. Shafer also said he thought the team rebounded particularly well. Richmond had 48 rebounds to Wake Forest's 38.
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Wake Forest did not score for nearly one six-minute stretch during the second half, and from 8:17 left in the game, the Spiders slowly expanded their lead. The Demon Deacons did not score during the final 4:17 of the game, save for a last-second layup.
The win gives Richmond a much-needed confidence boost headed into its first Atlantic 10 game against George Washington University, set for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Robins Center.
Contact staff writer Dan Petty at firstname.lastname@example.org
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