The University of Richmond women’s basketball team won a thriller against in-state rival the College of William & Mary 76-73 Wednesday night at the Robins Center.
Sophomore guard Kate Klimkiewicz led the Spiders with 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Klimkiewicz shot 7-10 from the field and 3-4 from beyond the arc.
The Spiders had a strong shooting night as a whole, converting on 50.9% from the field and 10-16 from three-point range. The team had shot 36.8% from the field and 25.6% from downtown in its first four games.
UR head coach Aaron Roussell was not surprised at the improvement, noting the team’s strong work ethic.
“We are a much better shooting team than what we’ve showed leading up to [tonight],” Roussell said. “Our players have been very diligent about getting themselves in the gym … but I think they’ve been doing that for seven months. We are a much better shooting team than we were last year. Unfortunately, it wasn’t showing up, but [tonight] it did.”
The Spiders came out of the gate fast, opening up a 12-3 lead within five minutes of the tip-off, but the Tribe fought back quickly.
William & Mary sophomore guard Eva Hodgson scored 13 in the first quarter on 5-7 shooting, including 2-2 from three-point range, but the Tribe’s lead was just one at the end of the quarter. Klimkiewicz started off hot, scoring seven in the first quarter, including UR’s first five points of the game.
William & Mary started the second quarter the same way the first ended, making two three-pointers to open the lead up to seven. The Spiders did not score for more than four minutes into the second quarter, but were able to tie the game at 32 with 2:48 remaining on a three-point play from sophomore guard Claire Holt, who scored all nine of her points in the first half. The play sparked the home crowd, but the Tribe were not fazed, and went into halftime with a five point lead.
The Spiders cut into the deficit immediately after halftime on a three-pointer from freshman forward Elaina Chapman. From there, the quarter went back-and-forth. William & Mary forward Victoria Reynolds combined with Hodgson to score all of the Tribe’s points in the third quarter.
The Spiders employed a more balanced attack. Junior guard Kailyn Fee made a three-pointer from the corner just after checking into the game, and added another point on a free throw with 1:01 left in the quarter.
The Tribe retook the lead when Hodgson scored on a second-chance layup with four seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Spiders did not have time to get back up the court, and went into the fourth quarter down 56-55.
UR went on a 12-2 run over the first 3:07 of the fourth quarter, triggered by a three-pointer from junior guard Alex Parson on the team’s first possession. Klimkiewicz made her third three-pointer of the night to put the Spiders up by nine, and the UR bench roared as William & Mary head coach Ed Swanson called a timeout.
Hodgson, the reigning CAA Rookie of the Year, scored eight points in less than two minutes as the Tribe countered with a 10-2 run of its own to cut the UR lead to one with 3:53 remaining.
After sophomore guard Aniyah Carpenter scored to bring it back to three, Hodgson drew a shooting foul which infuriated the crowd and proceeded to make both free throws. After a Spider miss, Reynolds was fouled and made one of two, tying the game.
On the ensuing possession, Parson swished a corner three-pointer over a defender, putting the Spiders back on top with 1:01 to go. A long William & Mary possession ended with a Hodgson miss, and Klimkiewicz secured the rebound. William & Mary began to intentionally foul, but had not accumulated enough team fouls to automatically send the Spiders to the line.
With 15.1 seconds on the clock, Hodgson stole the inbounds pass and William & Mary forward Bre Bellamy made a layup to make the score 74-73. After Roussell took a timeout, Klimkiewicz was fouled and sent to the line while trying to corral the inbounds pass. She made both to put the Spiders back up by three, and Hodgson dribbled up the court with a chance to tie the game.
Hodgson passed to guard Sydney Wagner, who missed a three-point try. Klimkiewicz grabbed the rebound, and after a timeout, sophomore forward Emma Squires launched the inbounds pass football-style to Klimkiewicz, who caught it about 75 feet down the court. Klimkiewicz was fouled immediately, and had a chance to put the game out of reach with 6.5 seconds to play.
Klimkiewicz had been 4-4 from the line so far in the game, but missed both free throw attempts. Reynolds raced up the court after grabbing the rebound, but her buzzer-beater attempt from the top of the key did not fall, and the Spiders won 76-73.
The win brought UR’s record to 4-1 and gave the Tribe its first loss of the season. The Spiders’ next game is at Drexel University on Sunday.
Roussell said Drexel was “maybe one of the hardest places to play in the country,” and called for the team to work on “[moving] the basketball more and playing together in our offense” ahead of the matchup.
Contact sportswriter Noah Jacobs at email@example.com