The Collegian
Sunday, July 05, 2020

Richmond gets offensive balance in win vs. Boston

In previous years, with an offense centered around guard Brittani Shells, the University of Richmond women's basketball team may not have been able to win a game like Friday night's against Boston University.

Guard Abby Oliver, who has taken over the role of leading scorer following the graduation of Shells, did not score until there was a little more than two minutes left in the game. Despite the lack of scoring from Oliver, who is now five points shy of 1,000 in her career after her four-point game, three Spiders scored in double figures to lead them to a 72-60 victory at the Robins Center.

"I'm really pleased that we were able to come away with a win with Abby scoring only two," Richmond coach Michael Shafer said. "What I think it helps everybody realize is, we could all contribute and make it easy for each other."

Redshirt junior Rachael Bilney had her biggest game of her career, scoring 19 points. She missed all of last year with a knee injury suffered during the preseason.

She said that the year off, while hard to watch, helped her get a better feel for the offense.

"Injured players, you could talk to probably anybody, you learn more about yourself as a player and just the game, how the team works by sitting than actually playing," Bilney said. "I'd like to think I'm a little smarter now."

Bilney came into the game averaging 11.5 points per game, second on the team to Oliver's 14.5. She nearly met her average in a one-minute span, scoring eight-straight points to help the Spiders regain the lead mid-way through the second half.

Six of those points came on consecutive threes. She made five of her nine three-point attempts during her season-high 38 minutes of action.

"A lot of them were right by our bench and as the ball was in flight, coach Shafer's telling me to bury it," Bilney said. "So I don't know if I feel obligated to shoot those, but he's constantly on me to put the ball up. I think he has more confidence in me than I do."

A pair of young forwards helped provide balance for the Richmond offense. Freshman center Liz Brown continued her progression, scoring a career-high 15 points and sophomore forward Genevieve Okoro added 14 points.

That type of balance has helped Richmond start the season 3-0, despite having one of the youngest teams in the nation. There have been signs showing the team's youth in the three wins, but Shafer said that he was pleased thus far.

"We've come out 3-0, which is a tribute to our basketball team," Shafer said. "Hopefully, what it's done, is give us experience in all kinds of situations and prepared us for future games, because it's going to get tougher."

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Game Notes: Oliver led the team with six assists... Junior reserve forward Ryann Dannelly scored nine points and had five rebounds in nine minutes... The Spiders now travel to Old Dominion University for a 5 p.m. game Sunday.

Contact staff writer Andrew Prezioso at

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