The Collegian
Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Cold shooting sinks Richmond in third round of WNIT

A 22-7 run by Georgetown University during the final 13 minutes of the first half put away the University of Richmond women's basketball team as the Spiders were blown out 65-49 during the third round of the Women's National Invitational Tournament.

The Spiders never seemed comfortable on the offensive end. Richmond -- which usually shoots 39 percent -- was able to connect on 29 percent of its shots.

Sophomore Brittani Shells entered the game as Richmond's leading scorer with an average of 15.6 points per game, but she struggled scoring. Shells missed all five of her shots -- all taken during the first half -- as she was held scoreless for the first time this year.

"[Georgetown] was keying on wherever Brittani was," Richmond coach Michael Shafer said. "They did a good job of focusing two people on her."

Shells was not the only Spider to have trouble shooting the ball. The team was only 4-21 during the half, including 1-11 from beyond the three-point line.

"In the first half, [the Hoyas] were aggressive," Shafer said. "Their zone defense was very aggressive. We did a poor job of attacking it."

The shooting improved slightly during the second half, but it was not enough. The Spiders shot 38.5 percent in the second half, but that was not enough to overcome the 16-point halftime deficit.

The Richmond defense was not able to contain the Hoyas from beyond the three-point line. Georgetown shot 43.5 percent from three during the game.

"In the first half we let them do what they wanted to do" on offense, Shafer said.

After falling behind by 20 with 11 minutes left in the game, Richmond used a 8-0 run to give the Spiders a chance. But the initial lead was just too much for Richmond to overcome.

Senior Johanna McKnight and junior Danielle Bell each scored 13 points for Richmond. Freshman Rachael Bilney added a career-high 11 points during the loss.

It was the last game of McKnight's and Augustina Zygaite's careers.

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"I hate to see Jo and Auggie go," Shafer said.

Next year, Richmond is returning four starters, including a healthy Samantha Bilney, who missed the last 12 games of the season after starting the first 22.

Even though the season ended in disappointment, Shafer viewed the season as a positive.

"We're 24-10," he said. "They're a tremendous group. They never made excuses and battled adversity. We were right on the bubble of the NCAA tournament."

With the win, the Hoyas will play Boston College during the quarterfinals of the WNIT.

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

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