The University of Richmond women’s basketball team beat Saint Joseph’s University 46-45 in an A-10 thriller Wednesday night at the Robins Center.
The win broke a five-game losing streak for the Spiders, who moved to 1-5 in conference play and 4-15 overall. Junior forward Jaide Hinds-Clarke had her fourth double-double of the season, picking up 10 points and 12 rebounds, and junior forward Amy Duggan made two clutch free throws to put the Spiders ahead in the closing seconds.
The Spiders opened the game playing physical basketball, with Hinds-Clarke using a size advantage to score six points and grab eight rebounds in the first quarter. Star sophomore guard Alex Parson scored six of her own, driving for multiple tough layups in traffic. The Spiders did not turn the ball over in the quarter and focused on getting the ball into the paint on offense.
Up 18-11 entering the second, the Spiders kept the Hawks in check, holding them to 3-11 shooting in the second quarter. First-year guard Molly Mraz drew a hard charge midway through the quarter, energizing the Richmond bench.
Graduate student guard Daijia Ruffin gave the Spiders a nine-point lead by dribbling coast to coast before making a left-handed layup. Despite not making a three-point shot for the entirety of the half, the Spiders went into the break up 27-20.
Saint Joseph’s came into the third quarter with renewed energy, stifling the Spiders offense and ending the quarter on a 21-4 run. Alyssa Monaghan, the Hawks’ senior point guard and leading scorer, had five of her 14 points in the third quarter. Still yet to make a three pointer, the Spiders looked on the verge of yet another defeat as they entered the final period down 41-35.
The Spiders’ cold shooting night continued into the fourth quarter, as they missed their first eight shots. Five of those were from three-point range, and it seemed the Spiders had abandoned the first-half game plan.
First-year guard Aniyah Carpenter subbed in for Parson with 6:08 to play, and led the Spiders on a quick 7-0 run, punctuated by Ruffin hitting the Spiders’ first three pointer with 3:45 remaining. With Saint Joseph’s up by one, both teams stagnated until Carpenter scored again off of a Hawks turnover to retake the lead for the Spiders.
Saint Joseph’s took the lead right back after first-year forward Katie Mayock found herself open for an easy layup. With 55 seconds left, Mayock drew a foul, but missed both free throws. Saint Joseph’s maintained possession, but could not score, and Spiders coach Michael Shafer called a timeout with 25 seconds on the clock.
Shafer drew up a play for Carpenter, but she could not convert the contested layup. Duggan corralled the loose ball and was fouled under the basket. She made both free throws, putting the Spiders up 46-45 and sending the crowd into a frenzy.
After a timeout, Monaghan drove into the paint, but missed a layup short as the buzzer sounded.
Shafer credited the team’s resilience as being crucial to the comeback.
“I thought we were loose in the third quarter, gave up a lot of points, but in the fourth quarter we only gave up four,” he said. “And then we started to attack the basket in the fourth quarter, and in the third quarter we weren’t.”
The Spiders’ next game is away versus La Salle University on Saturday.
Tonight marked the University of Richmond’s second edition of Pride Night. Hinds-Clarke was nominated for the Black and Bold Unsung Heroes Award after the first quarter.
“She’s just a phenomenal person, and really wants to do well,” Shafer said. “She’s got a heart as big as the Robins Center.”
Contact sports writer Noah Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org.