Finishing with a combined 34 fouls between both team, the University of Richmond women's basketball team's 65-43 victory on Sunday afternoon at the Robins Center over Old Dominion was physical from start to finish. The Spiders were able to force 24 turnovers on defense, while surrendering 23 of their own on offense.
"It was physical from the very beginning," senior guard Brittani Shells said. "I guess [Old Dominion] is known for being physical, but it was a good challenge for us cause we needed it We had to be able to fight back and match the intensity which we did and just came out with a win."
Shells was the game's leading scorer with 23 points, while also pitching in on defense with a game-high six steals. Also key for the Spiders was their bench, outscoring their opponent's bench 24-14. Leading the charge for that group was freshman forward Genevieve Okoro with 16 points and nine rebounds. Eight of Okoro's points came off of her 8-10 free throw shooting.
"[The bench] gave us some energy that we needed because when you're playing a physical game like that, you become fatigued a bit quicker," Richmond coach Michael Shafer said. "Okoro came in and made some free throws and got some rebounds, [freshman] Becca Wann came in and was hustling, making plays that probably didn't show up in the box score, running tracking down loose balls, and [freshman Kristina Puthoff-King] has been solid throughout."
Two more telling stats for the game were points in the paint, by which Richmond outscored the Lady Monarchs 34-14, and rebounds, where the Spiders were plus 13 over Old Dominion. Key in both those was senior center Crystal Goring, grabbing 17 rebounds for the game.
"I think defensively, we did a good job of keeping them out of the paint," Okoro said. "We know that they can shoot the ball, but most of their offense is getting in transition and getting in the paint to grab offensive rebounds and put backs."
The game was Richmond's first since last Sunday's win over VCU, taking some time off due to exam week.
"I brought up [the time off] in the locker room right before we came out here," Shafer said. "I said, 'This is your study break, would you rather be studying or would you rather be playing basketball? So enjoy your 40 minutes, make it last as long as you can, don't shortcut it, let's play.' I thought we prepared well, focused on exams when we needed and focused on basketball when we needed to."
With the win, the Spiders improve to 6-4 with their next game not for another eight days when they will travel to the College of William & Mary. Meanwhile, the loss drops the Lady Monarchs to 4-4, facing Stony Brook a week from this Tuesday.
The win snaps a 21 game losing streak for Richmond against ODU, though the teams hadn't met since 2001... Shells also led the game in assists, tallying five... Richmond held ODU's third leading scorer on the year Shadasia Green to zero points on 0-10 shooting.
Contact reporter David Weissman at email@example.com
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