After losing to the University of Virginia Cavaliers, 69-56, the Spiders had a chance Saturday to redeem themselves in front of their home crowd, playing the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and they did just that, winning 75-60.
While the Spiders led throughout the majority of the game and won every statistical category, they struggled early during the first half.
The Spartans employed a full-court press and kept the game close, forcing five Richmond turnovers in the first nine minutes.
"We weren't being very aggressive early on when the press was put on us," Spiders coach Michael Shafer said. "We weren't cutting to the basketball. We were expecting the pass to be thrown to us instead of cutting to the basketball to shorten the passes."
After a few timeouts, the Spiders were able to figure out the press and get the ball up the court without trouble. Eventually, they pushed their lead to 28-21.
"Once we got that resolved, we were able to attack the basket as opposed to letting them attack us," Shafer said.
After that run, the Spiders led the rest of the way. They took a 45-31 lead into halftime and cruised throughout the rest of the game, playing reserves the majority of the second half.
Senior guard Abby Oliver continued her hot streak, tallying in 19 points to lead the team. She managed to work her way into the paint and score a on contested layups against some taller opponents.
"I know there's going to be a hand in my face a lot of the times," Oliver said. "I just have to focus and make sure to work on those shots in practice."
While shooting a similar field goal percentage as UNCG, the Spiders were able to dominate the glass and get 15 offensive rebounds. Sophomore forward Genevieve Okoro had five offensive and nine total rebounds to lead the team.
"I think she impacts every game she's in because of her ability to get to the basketball," Shafer said. "She's got an uncanny knack for the ball, and you can't teach that. Consequently, other kids on our team are able to get rebounds simply because of the focus the other team has to put on her."
The Spiders now move to 7-2, 4-1 at home. They won Saturday's game despite being in exam week and having less time to focus on basketball.
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"They're in the middle of exams, writing papers and working on presentations, and all of a sudden they have to come out and compete for two hours at an intense level," Shafer said. "That's a tribute to the type of ladies we have."
They play again next Thursday at North Carolina State, their second Atlantic Coast Conference opponent in three games.
Contact reporter Will Offit at firstname.lastname@example.org
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