With 18 seconds left in the game, Richmond senior Brittani Shells emerged through a crowd of tired players bumping into each other to claim the inbound pass, stutter stepped and laid the ball perfectly off the backboard to give the Spiders a five-point lead.
The inbound play, drawn up by Richmond coach Michael Shafer, proved to be the dagger in the latest women's basketball team victory over the North Carolina State University Wolfpack.
A few seconds later, after forcing a Wolfpack turnover, the Spiders ran the same play with Shells again claiming the ball successfully but missing the layup. Enough time ran off the clock though that the best NC State was able to accomplish was throw a long inbound pass intercepted by junior Abby Oliver to give the Spiders the 81-75 victory at the Robins Center.
"We drew that [play] up in the timeout," Shafer said. "We saw that they were face guarding both our guards, so we sent both kids up [the court]."
Said Shells: "[Samantha Bilney] threw it and I was just trying to get the ball. The first one, I didn't know whether to pull it out or take take it. I took it so we could have a five-point lead. The second time, it was a fail. I didn't know exactly what to do, but we were able to run some of the clock, so that was good."
Shells finished the game as the leading scorer with 28 points. Oliver contributed 18 points for the Spiders.
Despite the close final score, the Spiders led the entire game from the first possession onwards. The largest the Spider lead got to was 15, which occurred numerous times in the first half, the last of which was on a 3-pointer by Shells at the end of the half to give Richmond a 52-37 lead at the break.
The large lead was erased quickly in the second half though, as the Wolfpack started the final period on a 15-4 run to cut the lead to just four points.
"I just told them that this is the reality of our basketball team," Shafer said. "We're a young team team with six freshmen. We've had some kids come off of injuries that haven't played a lot of minutes recently, so it's a real rollercoaster and we're just gonna have to be able to deal with it. What we need to do is just make sure we're not giving them layups [and] get back and make them take contested shots."
The Spiders were able to settle down after that, exchanging small runs with NC State to go up by as much as 10 with a little more than 12 minutes remaining on two tough jumpers by freshman Genevieve Okoro.
NC State was able to cut Richmond's lead to two points on a free throw by Amber White with 9:31 left in the game. That would be as close as NC State would get the rest of the way. White was the Wolfpack's second leading scorer, finishing with 16 on the game.
The win puts the Spiders at 3-1 as they prepare to head to Hampton next, while the loss drops the Wolfpack to 2-2 on the year.
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"[Hampton] is an NCAA team, so it's a good opportunity and it's always hard to win on the road, so we're just gonna look forward to that game," Shells said.
Richmond Center Crystal Goring finished with 11 rebounds. This is the 3rd time in 4 games the Spiders have finished with 80 or more points this season. NC State's leading scorer was guard Marissa Kastanek with 19 points, including 5 3-pointers.
Contact reporter David Weissman at firstname.lastname@example.org
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