The University of Richmond women’s basketball team beat Howard University 67-60 at home Saturday, Dec. 8, behind a balanced offensive attack.
Four Spiders scored double digits, with sophomore guard Kailyn Fee scoring 16 points on 6-12 shooting in her second start of the season. Fee had averaged just 2.5 points per game entering today’s game.
Sophomore guard and preseason All-Conference selection Alex Parson had 15 points on 4-11 shooting, all in the second half after being plagued by early foul trouble. The Spiders had their best game of the season from beyond the arc, shooting 11-21.
Fee swished a 3-pointer on the Spiders’ first possession, and after a layup by Howard's Star Fitzgerald-Greer, first-year guard Aniyah Carpenter made a three of her own to give the Spiders an early 6-2 lead. The Bison started the game in a full-court press, but the Spiders navigated it easily and held a 13-10 lead by way of confident passing along with Fee’s effective shooting.
The second quarter started slowly, and the Bison took their first lead of the game with 4:20 remaining in the half on a left-handed layup by first-year forward Krislyn Marsh. In the final minutes of the half, Fee scored nine quick points, bringing the crowd to its feet with each basket. Fee’s 3-pointer with 24 seconds left, which banked in off the backboard, gave the Spiders a 24-23 lead entering the second half.
The Bison came out looking to contain Fee in the second half, which opened things up for Parson and first-year forward Madelyn Neff. Parson, the team’s leading scorer, overcame a slow start, and Neff scored nine points and played physical defense in the paint. The Spiders held a six-point lead late in the quarter, but the Bison fought back and ended the quarter up by five after an 11-0 run.
Parson stole the ball and scored on consecutive possessions early in the fourth quarter, tying the game. The two teams traded baskets back and forth, and the score was knotted at 58 with three minutes to play. With 2:12 remaining, Howard junior guard Sarah Edmond converted both free throws after being fouled to put the Bison up by two.
On the next possession, UR junior guard Jayana Ervin was fouled while shooting, but she made only one of the two free throws. After a stop, Parson then calmly made a three with two defenders in the area, making the score 62-60 in favor of the Spiders.
Parson then forced Edmond to step out of bounds, retaking possession with just over a minute to play. Parson slowed the game down, and the Spiders inbounded with one second on the shot clock. Fee passed to junior forward Jaide Hinds-Clarke, who quickly put in a layup to make it a two-possession game with 38 seconds left.
The Bison turned the ball over during their next possession on an errant pass, forcing them to begin intentionally fouling. Parson was able to make her free throws with 20 seconds left, essentially icing the game for the Spiders, who picked up their second win of the season. The Bison fell to 5-3.
Head coach Michael Shafer spoke on Fee’s work ethic, saying the work she has put in paid off.
“She’s probably in the gym more than anybody, trying to work on her shot and get better,” Shafer said. “I’m just really, really pleased for her.”
The 2-7 Spiders now have time off to prepare for exams before facing Quinnipiac University on Dec. 19. Shafer has spoken about the learning process for this young Spider team all season, and he continued to speak about it even though this game was a high-profile win.
"Just playing together and learning each other is what we’ve been trying to get them to do, and it is a work in process,” Shafer said. “I’m really, really pleased that we can go into exams feeling good about it, because when we come back to practice, we can continue to build on what we did today.”
Contact sports writer Noah Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org