Junior Nikita Thomas recorded a double-double to lead the University of Richmond women's basketball team to a 60-51 victory over the visiting University of Dayton.
Thomas set a career-high with 16 rebounds and had 10 points. Eight of the rebounds gave the Spiders an extra possession as she grabbed the offensive rebound.
"I go out and play my best," Thomas said. "I do what I can to help the team win."
Richmond was able to hold the high-powered Dayton offense to only 51 points. The Flyers came into the game leading the Atlantic-10 Conference in scoring per game with an average of 70 points per game.
"We focused on defense a lot in practice" leading up to the game, Richmond coach Michael Shafer said. "I felt like early in the year our defense was very, very good. We created a lot of opportunities for ourselves offensively by knocking away basketballs... but I felt [our defense] slipping."
The Spiders limited Dayton to only 23 second half points. The Spiders went on a 14-6 run to start the second half after entering the break with a six point lead.
The Spiders improved to 19-7 on the season and 7-4 in the A-10. Richmond looks for its third win in a row when it travels to Temple University for a 2 p.m. game on Feb. 21.
Sophomore Brittani Shells and senior Johanna McKnight each scored 10 points for Richmond.
This was the third game back for Shells after she missed three games with an injured finger. It was the first time that she scored in double-figures since returning.
"I don't believe I've been playing the best," Shells said. ""It's been a process."
With four players already out for the year-including freshman and team captain Samantha Bilney- sophomore Crystal Goring gave a scare to the Richmond fans when she went down with an injured shoulder in the first half.
Goring left the court with a trainer and headed back to the locker room. Five game minutes later, she returned to the floor with her left shoulder tapped up.
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"We might have a couple of injuries late in the season, but coach talks about how we need to be tough mentally and physically," Thomas said. "Even though we were concerned, we knew that Crystal would come back out and do what she had to do."
Injuries have left Richmond with only 10 players able to play. Nine of those players saw time against Dayton.
"In reality, I hate to say it, I'm almost used to [the injuries] now," Shafer said. "Our ladies have shown a lot of resolve. They've been able to overcome injuries and a lot of setbacks, particularly recently. I told them in the timeout 'You got to fight. You got to find a way.'"
Even though Dayton had a size advantage, Richmond was able to control the paint. The Spiders beat Dayton 51-32 on the glass which led to a 15-2 advantage in second chance points for the Spiders. Richmond also outscored Dayton 28-20 in the paint.
The turnover column was fairly even- 16 for Dayton and 12 for Richmond- but Richmond turned the Flyers' turnovers into points at a greater rate. The Spiders scored 23 points off of Dayton turnovers whereas Dayton only had five points off of Richmond turnovers.
Freshman Rachel Bilney had nine points off of the bench. She went three-for-six from beyond the three-point arc.
McKnight entered the game 16 points away from reaching 1,000 points in her career. She is now only six away from getting that mark.
Contact staff writer Andrew Prezioso at firstname.lastname@example.org
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