The Collegian
Tuesday, June 02, 2020

New starting lineup helps Spiders edge Wake Forest

Points were at a premium for both teams on Sunday as Richmond women’s basketball held on in the second half to defeat the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

Richmond’s offense was well-balanced, led by a career-best 24 points from Liz Brown. Brown made all four 3-pointers she attempted, and added seven rebounds and two emphatic blocks that got the crowd roaring.

“We tried to move the ball and to attack the gaps and get them to send two people to guard one, and then look for kick outs and looks down low,” Brown said after the game. She was the beneficiary of good penetration by the Spiders’ guards, who found her for open looks on the wing several times in the 79-72 win.

Brown aside, the Spiders had three other scorers in double figues. Janelle Hubbard scored 14, Lauren Tolson had 12 points to go with five rebounds and Olivia Healy added 10 points off the bench. Gen Okoro scored eight points, lower than her season average, but made up for it with 13 rebounds.

Overall, the team shot almost 47 percent from the field, its second best mark of the season. Additionally, the 42-point tie at halftime was the Spiders' season best. After the game, head coach Michael Shafer attributed his team’s offensive eruption to good passing and an improvement in the catch-and-shoot game.

“We made a lot of good extra passes particularly in the first half… and the players that were catching those passes were actually ready to shoot the basketball,” Shafer said, “which is something we noticed on film that we weren’t doing in our last stretch of games.”

For the Demon Deacons, Dearica Hamby led the way with a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds. Nicole Floyd scored 14 points to go along with six rebounds and Amber Campbell added 10 points as well.

Shafer decided to go with a new look to start Sunday’s game. Kylie Murphee and Janelle Hubbard got their first starts of the season in place of Keri Soppe and Bria Powell. Hubbard played well, forcing Wake Forest to defend her far away from the hoop because of her ability to knock down long threes.

“She earned it,” Shafer said of Hubbard getting the start. “She’s been getting a lot of attention defensively because of the way she finished last year.”

Murphee only scored two points on a rough shooting night, but she pressured Wake Forest’s ball handlers throughout the game. She had two steals in addition to creating several other turnovers.

“Defensively she’s really good," Shafer said about Murphee. "I thought she could establish a flow and a good tempo offensively like we’ve been seeing in practice. Sometimes, change ain’t bad,” Shafer said.

The win was much needed for the Spiders and broke a four-game losing streak that spanned over two weeks. Their next game is Wednesday against UNC Wilmington at 4:30 p.m., the start of a five-game road trip.

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Contact reporter Walter Abrams at walter.abrams@richmond.edu

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